South Africa
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Parly arson: Accused Zandile Mafe's pre-trial postponed to September

CAPE TOWN - The pre-trial for Parliament arson accused, Zandile Mafe, has been postponed to next month.

Mafe was scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing in the Western Cape High Court on Friday but reporters heard that Mafe was lying down on the holding cell's floor and had refused to come to the dock.

Mafe's lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, told the court that he did not anticipate events unfolding on Friday.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s Eric Ntabazalila explains that Godla went down to speak to his client, before addressing the court.

"He came back and addressed the court and indicated that he has been on a hunger strike for some time and he is sick and incapacitated and had not been informed as the defence that he was on hunger strike and had been sick," Ntabazalila said.

Mafe allegedly set fire to Parliament’s National Assembly chamber in January, a blaze which destroyed sections of the Old Assembly building.

He's back in court on 2 September.