Fri, 27 May 2022

CAPE TOWN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Zandile Christmas Mafe, the suspect who allegedly burnt down the main parliament building of South Africa this January will be indicted, a state advocate of South Africa told Cape Town Magistrate's Court Thursday.

Mafe, 49, is charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, arson, terrorism and theft. He could face life imprisonment if convicted.

A final damage report of the parliament will be ready on May 20, while a crime scene and arson report will also be finalized soon, said Senior State Advocate Mervyn Menigo.

Menigo's request to postpone the case to June 9 was accepted by the court.

Mafe was detained on Jan. 2 after the fire broke out early in the day, on suspicion of stealing property after he gained entry to the parliamentary precinct without authorization.

The fire lasted more than 70 hours, severely damaging the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burning down the NA chamber. It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

The National Assembly and the parliament's plenary meetings have been moved to a much smaller chamber, Good Hope, within the parliament precincts in a hybrid way, with many members participating online.

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