Africa

Man Accused Of Setting South African Parliament Fire Faces Terrorism Charge

South African prosecutors added a terrorism charge Tuesday against a man accused of starting a fire earlier this month that gutted parts of the country’s parliament in the city of Cape Town.

A huge fire broke out at the National Assembly, or lower chamber, on Jan. 2, destroying its roof and other parts of the iconic building.

Police arrested 49-year-old Zandile Mafe shortly after the fire for breaking into parliament before the blaze and charged him with two counts of arson, house breaking and theft.

The terrorism charge was added on Tuesday as Mafe made his second appearance at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court to apply for bail.

He was denied bail and remanded to Pollsmoor Prison until Feb. 11, when he will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

The huge damage to parliament has forced officials to find an alternative venue in Cape Town to host the annual State of the Nation (SONA) address to be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Feb. 10.

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