In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
"Go back! I order you to go back now. You are taking chances with these people," screamed North West police deputy commissioner William Mpembe as he ordered the police in a van carrying alleged killer Johan Nel back into the Swartruggens courtyard.
So tense was the situation at the tiny district court yesterday that Mpembe delayed Nel's return trip to the holding cells for about two hours.
Hundreds of people had gathered outside singing and proclaiming their hatred for the teenager accused of murdering four people and injuring six when he opened fire randomly in Skielik - an informal settlement in Swartruggens, North West.
The four people who died included a three-month-old baby and a 10-year-old boy.
Nel was convicted of attempted murder in 2003 after he shot a black man saying in his defence that he had thought the man was a baboon.
The case was yesterday postponed to next month for further investigations.
Nel was remanded in custody.
"I understand that people are angry, but I appeal to everyone to be calm and let justice take its course," said magistrate Andre Kleynhans.
He told the court that the case was very sensitive, and that a high court would take over the case.
Nel smiled and made a peace sign at photographers and reporters who were having a field day after they were allowed to take pictures inside the courtroom before the proceedings.
Mpembe and his team had their hands full when the crowd outside threatened to break down the gates. They almost overturned the van transporting Nel when Mpembe saw the danger and ordered it back.
A police armoured vehicle was used to escort him outside, but not before the crowd broke down the already fragile gate, baying for his blood.
A single teargas canister managed to temporarily drive the crowd away from the run-down gate and prevented them from storming the courtyard.
"We believe that justice should take its course, but we are against the inciting of racial slurs. None of these is going to help us at all," said Agriforum chief executive Kallie Kriel yesterday.
The provincial office of Cosatu also handed over a memorandum to Phenye Vilakazi, the MEC for transport and community safety in the province, demanding that all race- related attacks on farms be investigated for a second time.
A memorial service for the victims was also held yesterday afternoon. The mass funeral will take place tomorrow.