Krugersdorp - The owner of a security company, Petrus William Johannes Durant, who allegedly shot and killed tractor driver Aron Mutavhatsindi, was granted bail of R10 000 in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Magistrate Abdul Khan said it was in the interest of justice to release Durant on bail.
"The court is satisfied that he [Durant] will stand trial," Khan said.
Khan told the court that the incident was not a racist act, but a criminal act.
"Racism is a cancer that should be removed. From the evidence that the court has, it was not an act of racism, but an act of crime. I cannot find that the accuse [Durant] acted racist, but acted in a criminal manner," Khan said.
Durant, dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt, appeared in a packed court.
The gallery was filled with EFF and ANC supporters, but they were soon removed for disrupting court proceedings.
Khan had also denied the media’s application to broadcasting proceedings live.
Forty-two-year-old Mutavhatsindi worked at the Bartlet Poultry Farm. He was shot and killed in an open field near the informal settlement of Matshelapad, outside Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, on January 6.
State prosecutor Rungulani Mahlongo argued that it was not in the interest of justice to grant Durant bail.
Mahlongo was of the view that if Durant was released on bail, he would be killed.
"Why did he flee the scene and run to the police station? This is a clear indication that his life is at risk," Mahlongo told the court.
He said the court needed to send a clear message that everyone is protected, whether you are black or white.
Defence lawyer advocate Deon Pool argued that it was in the interest of justice to release his client on bail.
"This a simple man, with a simple job, who had unfortunate circumstances. There is no reason that he would flee," Pool told the court.
Pool said there was no statement from anyone saying: "If this man gets bail, I’m going to kill him."
The court ordered that Durant, as part of his bail conditions, must hand in his passport, his 9mm firearm and he is not allowed to leave Gauteng without the permission of the investigation officer.
The matter was postponed to April 13 for further investigation.
Earlier chaos erupted when Members of the public - some clad in ANC, EFF and PAC T-shirts - disrupted court proceedings.
One person held up a placard, saying "No bail or else", as the magistrate was about to hand down judgment.
A man in court was overheard saying: "If that was a white man, he wouldn’t have killed him."
Police acted swiftly to remove the protesters from the courtroom.