Police officers had initially treated Fita Khupe, one of the two men now implicated in the mass murder of the Khoza family in Vlakfontein, as a victim of the crime.
Investigating officer Banele Ndlovu told the Protea Magistrate's Court on Wednesday that while police had taken Khupe into custody after the bodies of his longstanding lover, Mbali Khoza, and six of her relatives were found, they had done this solely for his own safety.
Ndlovu was testifying in the bail application of Khupe and his co-accused, a man who identified himself to the family as "Sibusiso Khoza". This is not his real name, and his true identity, while known to TimesLIVE, cannot be revealed because, unlike Khupe, he is also facing sexual abuse charges.
The pair are alleged to have bludgeoned the family to death by beating them over the head with hammers and suffocating the children in the house.
"Khoza" is also accused of having had raped three of the family members.