06/08/12 DURBAN: UMNZ SIPHO Mbatha uthi uthokoza kakhulu njengoba manje eseyilunga elisha leNFP ekusho lokhu ngesikhathi emukelwa yileliqembu eCostlands Hotel eThekwini. ISITHOMBE: NQOBILE MBONAMBI

Durban - National Freedom Party (NFP) councillor Mgezeni Gwala, arrested after the murder of an IFP member, was hoisted aloft by his supporters after he was granted bail by the Durban Regional Court on Thursday.

Gwala, his sons Celimpilo and Bonginhlanhla, their security guard, Skhumbuzo Nxumalo, and Sibusiso Ncengwa are being investigated in connection with the murder of Cebile Shezi and the attempted murder of two other people.

The State alleges the five men opened fire at a group of IFP supporters who were marching past Gwala’s home on their way to the KwaMashu police station in October.

Previously, Bonginhlanhla was granted bail of R20 000 and Ncengwa bail of R5 000 by magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe, who said the State had a weak case against them. Hlophe said video footage appeared to show that Bonginhlanhla had been at his Umhlanga home on the day of the shooting, while police had confirmed that Ncengwa was at work.

Gwala, who had spent two months in custody, left court in a jovial mood after being granted bail of R20 000. But it will be a sombre Christmas for his son, Celimpilo, and for Nxumalo, both of were denied bail.

Speaking outside the court, Gwala said he was innocent. He was disappointed that he had to leave Celimpilo in jail.

“This case is about politics, I got to the scene (of the shooting) after it had happened.”

The case was adjourned to February. Gwala must report to the investigating officer if he wants to enter KwaMashu or leave Durban. - The Mercury