Tuesday 4 January 2022

South African parliament burns. Man middle-named 'Christmas' arrested.

Zandile Christmas Mafe is the man who is alleged to have burnt down South Africa's National Assembly house of parliament. 

He is charged with housebreaking, arson, theft, and seemingly contravention of the Explosives Act. 

Usually, in such matters, government Legal Aid would represent an accused person who cannot pay. However, a private attorney has taken the matter without charging. 

Mafe is being represented free of charge (pro bono) by Luvuyo Godla, a high profile lawyer best known for regularly representing the marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in their most important matters. Usually, legal aid will be provided by the government Legal Aid board where potential clients can't pay. Attorneys traditionally also all do some pro bono work each year, how much, depending on their appetite for such cases, and which cases they choose to take on.

Godla's prolific clients, the EFF, however, are unlikely to object to his, free of charge, representing the accused arsonist. The EFF has long called for parliament to be moved from Cape Town, and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called the fire a 'beautiful fire', while top EFF parliamentarian, Floyd Shivambu called the burnt down parliament 'colonial' and called for it not to be repaired and to be moved from Cape Town.

Zandile Mafe has pleaded not guilty.

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