In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Themba Molefe and McKeed Kotlolo
It first began as a run-off-the-mill toyi-toyi, but when mayor Sipho Nkosi appeared, he was greeted by a sea of white T-shirts that read: "We support you 100percent".
The mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality, in Mpumalanga, has been released on bail of R10000, with stringent conditions that include house arrest.
Nkosi, 40, was arrested in connection with the murder of his deputy, Thandi Mtsweni, at her home in Leslie in June.
Nkosi is a popular man.
Addressing the jubilant crowd near the entrance to the Evander magistrates' court, Nkosi said: "We thank you for your support and we are grateful for your belief in our innocence."
The crowd that was swelling by the minute mobbed the immaculately dressed local politician as he was led to a waiting metallic blue Volkswagen Polo car. He was whisked away as soon as he got into the car.
Earlier, his supporters bussed in from his stronghold, eMbalenhle in Secunda, chanted slogans and carried incoherent placards made of cardboard.
But the message was clear - they supported their mayor.
Xolisile Phakathi wore a red doek and looked very tired. But she showed vigour when she shouted: "He is our mayor, we elected him."
Phakathi told Sowetan she owned an RDP house after having lived in a shack for 11 years.
A toothless woman on crutches wearing isixholo (hat) with an Orlando Pirates insignia and a floral black and white skirt moved with uncharacteristic agility around the court building.
She seemed quite agitated as she said: "The mayor must come out, he must come out."
In the background, two young men blew vuvuzelas which accompanied the singing.
But, in the end, Jacob Zuma's legend continued to live on as the crowd sang not awulethe umshini wam, but awulethe uMayor wam (Bring back my mayor).
And this is exactly what they got. And when Nkosi said: "Please go home", at the end of his short speech, they listened.
Magistrate Daan Senekal last week gave the state seven days in which to submit a report on the alleged conversation between Nkosi and Lukhele. Yesterday he ruled that there was no connection and granted Nkosi bail.
Lukhele had earlier claimed that Nkosi had called her shortly after Mtsweni's death, confirming the deputy mayor's death.
Apart from the house arrest, Nkosi is also required to report to Secunda police station on Wednesdays and Sundays between 8am and 8pm.
He has also been warned not to interfere with any witnesses in the case and was ordered to hand in his passport to the clerk of the court.