Brits - National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member Nkosinathi Mantashe, accused of the attempted murder of a rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) member, was granted R10 000 bail at the Brits Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
Delivering bail judgement, Magistrate Reagan Rosenberg said he was disappointed in the manner the police investigated the case.
"The court is disappointed in the manner the case was investigated and also the way the investigating officer testified in court," he said.
"This incident took place on 22 July 2017, the complainant was injured and hospitalised. He made a statement to the police in August, identifying who the suspect was. The first investigating officer, a Warrant Officer Sekhu called the applicant to the Mooinooi police station on September 17, he interviewed him and released him.
"The second investigator, Sergeant Aaron Khunou, testified in court that the reason the applicant was released was that the state's case was weak at that stage..."
Khunou testified that the case was weak even when the complainant Malibongwe Mdazo made a statement to the police on August 16 implicating Mantashe.
The State alleges that Mantashe, 37, shot Amcu branch chairperson Malibongwe Mdazo five times in an attempt to kill him at Mooinooi on July 22.
Prosecutor Cassius Mona opposed the application on the basis that Mantashe's life was in danger and his release would fuel a turf battle between Amcu and NUM members.
He stated the police blunders in handling the case had no bearing on the state's case.
Magistrate Rosenberg noted that Amcu members had been protesting outside the court but said their protest was peaceful.
He said prior to his arrest Mantashe was able to go to work at Lonmin, where he mixed with Amcu members who at that stage knew he was a suspect in the attempted murder of their leader, but they did not threaten him.
Furthermore, Mantashe did not run away even when he knew he was a suspect in the case.
Rosenberg said it would not be in the interest of justice to keep Mantashe in custody and released him on R10,000 bail, subject to conditions, including that he must report at the Mooinooi police station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and he must also not communicate with witnesses.
Mantashe stood with his eyes fixed on the magistrate as the judgement was delivered.
Despite the bail ruling, Amcu members sang outside the court, singing in isiXhosa.
The case was postponed to December 12 for investigation.