- Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela ruffled a few feathers on social media when she raised questions about Zandile Mafe
- Social media users were not very happy with the comment she made about Legal Aid lawyers and Mafe's legal representation
- Some people felt that Madonsela stating that Legal Aid lawyers encourage their clients confess to crimes was concerning
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CAPE TOWN - Questions around Zandile Christmas Mafe, the man who has been charged with starting the fire that broke out at Parliament on 2 January, continue to take over social media conversations.
Many people have been trying to figure out whether or not Mafe is homeless, as the initial reports said. This is despite Mafe's lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, dispelling the notion he is a homeless man.
Godla stated in a press briefing shortly after his first appearance that his client should be given bail because he actually has a home and lives in Khayelitsha, according to the Daily Maverick.
The latest prominent figure to question the validity of the claims that Mafe is a homeless man who is innocent is former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Heading online, Madonsela questioned why people are adamant that Mafe is innocent of the crimes he is accused of.
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In a series of Twitter posts, she asked how Mafe was able to secure a private lawyer so quickly if he is indeed homeless. She added that by getting a private lawyer, Mafe was spared the risk of confessing to the crime, alluding that's what usually happens with Legal Aid lawyers.
Madonsela concluded her post by asking people who absolutely convinced that Mafe is an innocent man the information they have about Mafe that everyone else doesn't have.
South Africans worried about Madonsela's comment on Legal Aid
While Madonsela's tweet was centred around Mafe and his innocence, social media users engaged with the former public protector's comment on Legal Aid lawyers.
Some people pointed out that her statement highlighted that some people are at risk of confessing to crimes they didn't commit if they are represented by a state lawyer.
Here are a few comments:
"Is there an added risk of confession with legal aid? Shouldn’t that be concerning prof?"
"Isn’t this disgraceful Prof? If you are about justice, you should be pushing that the accused gets the best legal representation. You have already presumed the accused guilty or perhaps you are privy to the investigation & evidence the state has in its possession which we do not."
"This tweet is really damaging to the reputation of legal aid. Are you insinuating that he was being coerced into confessing by state lawyers, or that people who are represented by the state are more likely to confess? We need to know why you made this assertion prof "
Some people were glad Madonsela was asking questions
"I am happy someone prominent is asking these questions. Everything about Mafe from his neighbours' alibi, CCTV footage of him pushing a trolley in a retail complex is just giving off suspicious vibes for me. There's 3 days old Facebook account of family members suddenly claiming him."
Zandile Christmas Mafe's family and neighbours say he was a shy and quiet person
Briefly News previously reported that the family of Zandile Christmas Mafe say their family member is innocent of the crimes he is being accused of and the family is committed to proving that he did not start the Parliament fire.
Mafe was arrested shortly after the blaze at Parliament broke out and authorities say he was found in the precinct. He is now facing charges related to housebreaking, arson and theft, amongst others.
Mafe, who originally hails from Mahikeng in the North West, relocated to the city of Cape Town in 2004. According to SABC News, since his move to the Mother City, Mafe's source of income came from odd jobs.
Source: Briefly News