Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille said that she’s tackling a rat, snake and frog infestation at Cape Town’s parliamentary villages after complaints of an alleged infestation.
After two fires broke out in Cape Town this month, one at parliament and another at the department of justice regional office, the public have begun questioning the reports offered in the news from the government.
Could another species of vermin be crawling beneath the floorboards?
Two opposing narratives have risen and “people versus parliament” seems well-suited. Parliament have attributed the cause of the first fire (at parliament in Cape Town) to the calculated antics of a homeless man.
51-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe is a homeless man who has been seen taking rest outside parliament. President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that Mafe was taken in for questioning on January 5.
The Hawks then confirmed that the suspect was not a parliament employee and simply gained access to the precinct through a back window.
On the same day of Mafe’s questioning, a fire report was released by the City of Cape Town.
Station Commander JJ Williams’s said that during his walk around the affected areas, he found that the National Assembly sprinkler valve was not serviced and the valve appeared to be closed. It was supposed to have been serviced in 2017 and this needs to be done every three years.
The sprinkler system is one of many safety elements that were not in running order. Also, fire doors were locked in an open position using latches.
The cause of the fire has still not been disclosed.
An alleged confession:
Now, on January 8, Zandile Christmas Mafe has allegedly confessed to starting the fire.
The homeless man is reported to have told a “high-level source in the Hawks” that he started the blaze.
The source, who declined to be named told IOL that Mafe confessed and even “showed us how he started the fire.” But he allegedly does not want to disclose how he gained access to the building.
According to the unnamed “high-level source in the Hawks”, there is no video footage of Mafe entering the building. There is allegedly only footage of him “leaving through a window where he was found by cops.”
Mafe’s lawyer Luvuyo Godla insisted the confession was coerced and would not stand up in a court of law. Godla says that Mafe was put under duress to force a confession out of him. “The court proceedings were flawed and I am yet to receive copies of the charge sheet.”
The hawks allegedly visited Mafe’s brother Zamile Matiwane on Friday. They told him that his brother (Mafe) confessed but the Hawks could not present any evidence when asked to do so by Matiwane.
Matiwane said that he does not believe the allegations and that authorities are trying to pin the fire on his brother.
Godla added his client was not read his rights ahead of the confession being obtained.
Mafe is being charged with two counts of arson, theft, housebreaking, contravening explosives act. The National Prosecuting Authority indicated that more charges could be added.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are yet to present any evidence pertaining to the allegations made.
Luvuyo Godla emphasised that Mafe is overwhelmed and confused. Just this week his client told the Weekend Argus, from Pollsmoor Prison, that he is innocent.
“I did not do it and I am not a mad man. I am not sad that Parliament burnt down because it does not do anything to alleviate my life and those of people like me.”
According to Mafe, he was inside Parliament early because he wanted to be first in the queue when the soup kitchen opened.
After Zandile Christmas Mafe’s court hearing, another fire broke out, this time at the department of justice regional office. At this point, Mafe was detained and suspicions began snowballing. Suspect or victim?
It was reported that a thick wooden door leading to a fire escape stairwell running along the side of the eight-storey building was partially burnt. Two plastic bottles were found at the door’s base and were swabbed for further investigation.
Neighbours have spoken out about Mafe and noted that he exhibited strange behaviour – including allegedly being anti-social, choosing to climb through his fence instead of going through the gate and being absent for the past month. His family defends that he wouldn’t harm anyone, not even when he was a young boy in school.
Social media erupted with criticisms of the questioning and detainment of Mafe.
“I am black, I am poor, I am landless, I might be the next Zandile Mafe,” said @Lady_Khumo on Twitter. A statement that appeared and reappeared in a multitude of different words and phrases on the platform.
A Cape Town resident posted the following opinion on social media, which is circulating like wildfire:
This homeless guy decides to break into parliament on Sunday.
There is no alarm armed…
The cameras aren’t working….
The guards have been told to take the weekend off by whoever is their boss…
This national key-point is entirely empty and standing open…
The sprinklers have been turned off…
He luckily picks the part of this huge building where the offices are…
Some staff have left their laptops in their office. Odd that they left them there, but okay…
He takes these.
He finds the good silver and take this, too.
Must be quite a bit of stuff to carry by now.
Then, this homeless man decides to pilfer some documents? Not electronics or valuable metal items that he can turn for quick cash, but reams of paper?
This homeless guy also just happens to be carrying actual explosives — which obviously he keeps dry and in good order while sleeping on the streets and which he knows how to use.
He then decides to set a couple of fires in the building as he’s leaving.
No one sees him leave, or notices that the place is on fire until it’s well ablaze. Not even a smoke detector in one of the country’s most important buildings.
Then the Hawks (South Africa’s special investigating unit who entirely failed to notice anyone looting the country for over 10 years) swoop in and track this homeless man down in under 3 hours — while the place is still ablaze — with no witnesses, no camera playback, no time for finger prints or forensics. They couldn’t even go inside and determine if anything had been pinched at this point, or even how the fire started. They just identify and find this guy who lives on the street and doesn’t even have an address.
Let’s be clear — BEFORE they even knew or could confirm that it was arson and a break in.
And this elite investigating unit hand him over to a regular SAPS constable…
Who manage to hang onto him, sort out a charge sheet and have a full list of charges to present to the court in under 48 hours.
And lets be clear again – BEFORE they can even go inside or conduct an investigation.
Look.I’ve seen pretty bad scripts in my time but this is even less believable than anything even Steven Seagal has starred in!
So, Cape Town, do you smell a rat or is justice being served?