Disappointment was written all over the faces of the residents of Mamaolo when the Thabamoopo magistrate's court granted bail to the ANC councillor accused of hiring people to murder her estranged boyfriend.
Magistrate S Matshaba yesterday granted R10000 bail to Patricia Mphahlele, much to the disappointment of members of the public.
Matshaba said the state did not have a strong case against Mphahlele, 40, and he saw no need for her to be in custody.
This was after Inspector Phutjiana Letsoalo had told the court that he had completed his investigations and that he did not have a strong case against Mphahlele.
Letsoalo also told the stunned court that he did not have a problem if Mphahlele was granted bail, adding that he could not guarantee her safety.
Mphahlele's lawyer, Joe Mphahlele, told the court that his client did not know the men who implicated her in the murder, saying they were thugs who used her name to gain popularity.
The magistrate ordered Mphahlele to appear in court again on October 28, together with the four men who have allegedly implicated her in the murder.
He further warned her to furnish the investigating officer with details of her whereabouts and movements.
Though Inspector Letsoalo had told the court that he had completed his investigations, police said they were still probing the link between Mphahlele and the four men.
The four men, who did not apply for bail, were remanded in custody. The court will approach the Legal Aid Board to avail a lawyer to represent them when they next appear in court.
Asked by prosecutor Kgwara Ramalebana how she would face the community which has threatened to kill her, Mphahlele said she would consult her employers, the Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality, of which she is Ward 20 councillor, to request protection.
The four men are: Moses Mmurwa, 21, Gift Mphahlele, 18, Prince Maribe, 21, and Andries Kgomo, 28.
Meanwhile, the family of the deceased, Coloured Motebejane, 49, has vowed to ensure that justice prevails, saying Mphahlele was responsible for his murder, which took place at his house in Mamaolo village on August 16.