Man, 49, Charged With Devastating South Africa’s Parliament Fire

A male suspect has been charged to court in connection with Sunday’s massive fire that ripped through South Africa’s National Assembly Complex in Cape Town, causing massive destruction.

South African Police said Zandile Christmas Mafe, 49, was charged with arson, theft, housebreaking and possession of explosives in connection with the blaze that smouldered till Monday.

The 138-year-old Parliament Complex became a huge tower of fire on Sunday as the blaze reportedly set off by Mafe gutted offices and caused some ceilings to collapse at a site that has hosted some of the country’s pivotal moments.

South Africa's Parliament fire
South Africa’s Parliament fire

The suspect was defiant in court, pulling off his nose mask to reveal his full identity, even as he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A statement by South Africa’s elite police unit, popularly known as the Hawks, revealed how the suspect gained entry into the highly protected complex.

“It is alleged that he gained entrance through the window in one of the offices,” Hawks spokesperson, Nomthandazo Mbambo told eNCA television, noting that investigations were continuing into how the suspect had managed to evade security at Parliament.

“There is a possibility of other charges being added as there was a security breach here,” the statement added.



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