The continued prosecution of Zandile Mafe for allegedly setting fire to Parliament has garnered a statement by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra).
Sahra wants to press additional charges against Mafe
The statement was offered to the National Prosecuting Authority as well as the South African Police Service (SAPS) in an attempt to finalise whether or not it is possible to place additional charges against Zandile.
The potential for additional charges stems from the fact that Parlament is a national heritage, protected by laws that prohibit any damage or vandalism site and therefore Zandile should be held accountable for violating heritage laws by starting the fire.
In the statement, Sahra confirmed that certain materials damaged in the fire can not be replaced. This is due to the fact that the materials damaged are no longer available. Authorities will also need to apply for a special permit from the agency if they wish to repair or replace specific parts of the structure.
Sahra says Parliament has historical relevance
Ben Mwasinga from the Sahra stated that Parliament holds substantial and significant value. The historical impact of the Parlament dates back to the 1600s with upgrades and improvements made during the 1800s and 1900s. Due to the significance of the Parlament and the damages caused during the fire, Mwasinga believes the law should be invoked.
Along with the diligent efforts by the Hawks and NPA on the case the institution also incorporated the assistance of Coega Development Corporation to assess the extent of the damages caused.
The final report was concluded on Friday and will confirm how much money will be required to repair and rebuild the Parlament building. The National Assembly and Old Assembly chambers experienced substantial damages, damages that were reviewed during the establishment of the report.
Mwasinga confirmed that there are grounds to press charges against Zandile for violating the National Heritage Resources Act. According to Section 50 of the act criminal proceedings can commence for the violation of this act, reports IOL.
Zandile Mafe matter could be transferred to High Court at next appearance
Zandile Mafe, the man accused of burning parliament, returned to the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 12 May. The State told the court that it needed more time to finalise its reports.
At Mafe’s last Magistrate’s Court appearance, on 25 March, State Advocate Mervyn Menigo said the prosecution would likely have a draft indictment and summary of facts ready by the next appearance.
Six weeks later, Menigo asked for yet another postponement. He said a final damage report on the parliamentary buildings would be ready by 20 May and that a crime scene and arson report would be finalised imminently. Read the full story here.