S.Africa parliament fire suspect appears in court

This is the 49-year-old man accused of setting South Africa's parliament building on fire, which completely destroyed its lower house National Assembly chamber.

The chamber was destroyed after flare-up on the second day.

The suspect Zandile Christmas Mafe appeared in court on Tuesday to face five charges including arson and possession of an explosive device.

His lawyer said he denied the accusations and would plead not guilty.

Mafe was ordered to be held in custody for seven days until January 11 for a bail hearing.

Prosecutors said they would oppose bail.

Authorities have not disclosed any possible motive for setting the blaze.

The fire initially broke out on Sunday (January 2).

By Monday, authorities had withdrawn some fire trucks and said they were putting out embers.

But flames flare up again causing more extensive damage to the New Wing.

Authorities said on Tuesday (January 4) that the fire had finally been brought under control.

The blaze also caused the partial collapse of the roof in the Old Wing, which dates back to 1884 and houses the upper chamber, the National Council of Provinces.

Officials have said important sections of the complex were saved, including a museum with art works and heritage objects.

But it will take a lot of rehabilitation to get the buildings back to where it was, according to a fire officer.

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