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High court tells state to release ‘parliament arsonist’ Zandile Mafe from mental hospital immediately

The high court has overturned the magistrate's court's decision to refer Zandile Mafe to a mental hospital.
The high court has overturned the magistrate's court's decision to refer Zandile Mafe to a mental hospital.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

The alleged parliament arsonist has scored a legal victory against the state. 

The high court in Cape Town on Tuesday overturned Zandile Mafe's referral to a mental hospital.

Mafe, 49, butted heads with the state in a bid to have Cape Town magistrate Zamekile Mbalo’s decision to refer him for 30 days of observation at Valkenberg Hospital reviewed and set aside.

Mbalo made the decision based on a report compiled by district surgeon Dr Zelda van Tonder, who recommended that Mafe undergo mental observation after Van Tonder diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. Mafe insists that he is sane.

On Tuesday, the state conceded that Mbalo’s order was irregular.

Judge president John Hlophe and acting judge Raadiyah Wathen-Falken overturned the decision and ordered his immediate release from Valkenberg Hospital. He will be incarcerated in Pollsmoor prison. The court awarded him legal costs.

The court heard that Mafe had tested positive for Covid-19 and that he is in isolation.

“The application succeeds with costs,” Hlophe ruled. “Further detention of Mr Mafe in Valkenberg is illegal and must come to an end immediately. He must be placed in a proper correctional facility.”

Mafe’s counsel, Dali Mpofu SC, accused the state of using his client as a scapegoat.

“This rushed referral, what is behind it?” asked Mpofu. “The state wants to make him a modern [Dimitri] Tsafendas.”

TimesLIVE


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