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Zandile Mafe to challenge referral for 30-day psychiatric observation in court

Following an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court, Zandile Mafe will challenge the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court order sending him to Valkenberg Psychiatric hospital for 30-day psychiatric observation. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Following an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court, Zandile Mafe will challenge the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court order sending him to Valkenberg Psychiatric hospital for 30-day psychiatric observation. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 17, 2022

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Cape Town - Suspected Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe will tomorrow challenge the court order which confined him to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for 30 days of mental observation.

Following an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court for Zandile Mafe’s bail proceedings to be heard, Western Cape Judge President John Hlope said that a review of the order to send him to Valkenberg needed to be done.

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Last week, Mafe was admitted to Valkenberg following a provisional diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia by a district surgeon as part of a mental assessment by the National Prosecuting Authority.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the basis of the review was to determine whether Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo gave the correct order and whether it was done in a correct way.

“Western Cape Division Judge President John Hlophe, who presided over proceedings, told the parties that a review of a decision taken by a magistrate or another judge cannot be presided by a single judge.

“He was the only judge on duty this weekend and he has organised for another judge to hear the review next Tuesday afternoon,” Ntabazalila said.

The bail application did not take place due to the issue of Mafe’s admittance to Valkenberg Hospital. The defence counsel intends to amend the bail application in order to include this matter.

In an affidavit submitted by his legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, Mafe said: “The mere fact that I have been deliberately referred to mental observation without ever having been given the opportunity to consult my own psychiatrist is questionable.

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“If I am kept further in such cruel custody, I may as well become disturbed and the State will have achieved a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Mafe said.

The affidavit also mentioned that Mafe’s inability thus far to apply for bail was considered a “failure of justice” and that the last-minute scheduling of his charges along with the addition of terrorism charges was part of the prosecution’s attempts at making his bail application more onerous.

Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, said: “Finally the wheels of justice are moving in the right direction; we are going to appear in court on January 18 for the court to determine whether the referral which was made by the magistrate on January 11 was unlawful.

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“Court needs to deal with that because we have someone who is in a psychiatric hospital for assessment which we don’t know whether it is lawful or unlawful.

“We were here for this court to intervene as we felt the interest of justice was not done for Mr Mafe. Under this Constitution, you never remand a person for more than seven days at a time and now we have witnessed someone remanded for a month when in fact that person is supposed to bring a bail application,” Godla said.

Mafe has been charged with Contravention of Section 5 of Act 33 of 2004, Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, two counts of arson, two counts of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft and discharging explosives.

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Mafe has embarked on a hunger strike after he was not able to make a bail application in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

His legal representatives will attempt to persuade him to reconsider his position.

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