The man accused of torching parliament says he was threatened with the death sentence after being arrested for arson on January 2.
In an affidavit submitted to Western Cape judge president John Hlophe in support of an urgent Cape Town high court bail application on Saturday, Zandile Christmas Mafe said he was arrested while sleeping outside parliament on the day of the fire, “severely and violently manhandled and intimidated” by the police and taken to Cape Town police station.
“A few hours later, I was booked out by an unknown man and taken to an unknown place,” the 49-year-old from Khayelitsha said in his affidavit.
“At the place, an unknown white man told me that I would be sentenced to death for burning parliament unless I co-operated with them.
“I was terrified and as a result I promised to ‘co-operate’ with whatever they may require of me. However, this turned out to be an empty promise from the white man as I was not released and I am still in police custody almost two weeks later.”
Mafe was not in court and his affidavit was submitted by defence lawyers, unsigned in view of what they described as the bail application’s “extreme urgency”.
Hlophe adjourned the hearing until next Saturday, but on Tuesday Mafe’s lawyers will appear before the judge president and at least one other judge to challenge a Cape Town magistrate’s decision to send their client to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for 30 days’ observation.
This followed a diagnosis by a state doctor that Mafe suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.