Murder charges against Harry Gwala District mayor Mluleki Ndobe have been provisionally withdrawn, the Umzimkhulu Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
The State cited insufficient evidence as a reason for the withdrawal. Ndobe and his family were emotional and jubilant outside court.
Ndobe was arrested last week in connection with the 2017 murder of former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary Sindiso Magaqa.
Ndobe, 44, Sbonelo Myeza, 39, Mbulelo Mbofana, 34, and Zweliphansi Skhosana, 48, appeared on Monday in the small-town court amid heightened security.
The four each faced one count of murder and two of attempted murder.
During his first appearance last week, Ndobe, who is third on the ANC’s provincial list, did not plead and the matter had been postponed to March 25 for a formal bail application.
Magaqa died in hospital in September 2017, around two months after he was shot in Umzimkhulu.
Umzimkhulu councillors, Nonsikelelo Mafa and Jabu Mzizi-Msiya, sustained gunshot wounds on the day of Magaqa’s ambush.