Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana arrived at the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday but entered through a side entrance, News24 reported.
Manana is accused of assaulting a woman at Cubana bar and restaurant in Johannesburg. After avoiding the main entrance, officials held him in a senior prosecutor's office rather than the holding cells, as is normal procedure.
Following social media outrage, as well as condemnation from organisations, Manana apologised for what he called a "shameful incident" that occurred as a result of "extreme provocation". He then backed down and issued an unconditional apology.
In a video circulated on social media, a man who is purportedly Manana slaps a woman, who covers her head with her hands to try and stop the blow. He reportedly told her brother he did this because she said he was gay.
Manana will be arrested, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told Eyewitness News on Tuesday. However, he was not arrested before his court appearance.
"He's not above the law. He'll be arrested," Mbalula told the broadcaster.
Mbalula said he was concerned and could not understand why Manana had not been arrested, even after charges of assault were laid against him.
Victim Mandisa Duma broke a rib, busted a knee cap, had bruising on her body and was struggling to walk.
"If he is guilty, he will be punished," said Mbalula.
"He's not yet been arrested and I don't have the luxury to explain why he has not been arrested because there are certain processes that the police and the prosecution are following."