South African Prosecutors Say Parliament Arson Suspect Had Explosives


Zandile Christmas Mafe, 49, was in court Tuesday to face several charges in connection with the South African Parliament fire, including arson, breaking and entering, and theft.

South Africa’s national prosecutors say the suspect was caught by police with an explosive device and with stolen laptops, documents, and crockery.

They allege Mafe, a South African national, set fire to the parliamentary precinct, parts of which are 138 years old, using explosives or flammable liquid.

Mafe’s lawyer said his client denies all the charges.

Prosecutors have yet to state a possible motive for the alleged attack. The state on Tuesday asked for a one-week postponement of the trial so that the crime scene can be properly inspected.

Firefighters are still working inside the parliament complex after a flare-up Monday several hours after authorities said the blaze was under control.

The fire destroyed several buildings, including the National Assembly Chamber where the president meets with lawmakers and where bills are debated.

But officials say the priceless artifacts, books, and historical documents housed in the buildings were saved.

Source: Voice of America