South African court denies bail application of Parliament fire suspect

A South African regional court has denied the bail application of Zandile Christmas Mafe, the Cape Town man who is suspected of setting fire to Parliament in January.

The 49-year-old, who is charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, terrorism, arson and theft, could face life imprisonment if convicted, reports Xinhua news agency.

The suspect was arrested on January 2 after the fire broke out in the morning, with suspected stealing property after he gained entry to the parliamentary precinct without authorisation.

The fire lasted more than 70 hours, severely damaging the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burned down the NA chamber.

It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

Mafe allegedly used boxes, paper and petrol worth 10 rands to start the fire, according to the state prosecutor.

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