Prosecutor: South Africa Parliament Fire Suspect Had Explosives

In Summary

Zandile Christmas Mafe is facing five charges, which include two counts of arson, after a fire began to tear its way through the Cape Town building.

Prosecutors have said that a man accused of setting a fire to South Africa’s parliament on Jan. 2 was captured with explosives. Zandile Christmas Mafe is looking at five charges, which include two counts of arson, after a fire began to tear its way through the monumental Cape Town building, according to BBC

RELATED: Huge Fire Rips Through South Africa’s Parliament, Causing Severe Damage

Mafe denies all of the charges levied against him and his lawyer Luvuyo Godla believes he is a victim of mistaken identity. Additionally, he is the only one who has been arrested in connection to the blaze. 

According to BBC, the blaze destroyed the National Assembly, but no one was hurt as it shocked South Africa. 

During an appearance, the 49-year-old entered the room wearing shorts and a shirt as there were numerous cameras flashing pictures of him. He then took off his mask and turned around for photographers to take pictures of his face. 

A National Prosecuting Authority spokesman said Mafe is facing charges of “house breaking” with intent to steal and theft of “laptops, crockery and documents,” possession of an explosive device, two counts of arson and destruction of essential infrastructure, according to BBC. 

RELATED: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Contracts ‘Mild’ Case of COVID-19

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was “deeply saddened” about the National Assembly being set on fire. 

“This is a disastrous event that should sadden all of us,” Ramaphosa said in a statement. “Parliament and the security agencies of government are looking into the cause of this incident and we must allow these investigation to continue. While these investigations continue, I believe we are united as a nation in our sadness at this destruction of the home of our democracy.” 

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