USTENBURG, February 13 – Five of the 14 Nigerian men accused of public violence will not be safe if released on bail, the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court head on Tuesday.
They told the court they did not want to be released on bail for their own safety.
However, a sixth accused told the court he wanted to be released on bail.
“I am providing for my family since 2012, my wife is not working, my wife gave birth to a premature baby last month,” he told the court.
The court had ordered that the men should not be identified or their photographs published.
Investigating Officer, Warrant Officer Phehello Khuduga, had told the court it would not safe for the men to be released on bail.
Security has been beefed up at the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court during the bail healing.
A high number of police were deployed outside the court building and some were in the courtroom.
The bail hearing was abruptly halted on Friday, when irate protesters threatened to torch the court buildings.
A crowd of about 5,000 people protested outside the court, threatening to burn the court building, and calling for the authorities to send the Nigerians back to their country, accusing them of operating brothels and drug dens in Rustenburg.
On January 10, eight guest houses were torched when locals went on a rampage, raiding buildings they suspect of operating as brothels and drug houses, claiming to clean Rustenburg of prostitution and drugs.
On January 21, Nigerian men allegedly went on a revenge attack, damaging cars at Waterval, and allegedly assaulting and robbing people in Rustenburg Noord.
They were arrested for public violence on the same day, after they went to the Rustenburg police station and blocked the entrance to the police station, complaining that they were attacked and the police were not helping them. Some of them are facing separate charges of malicious damage to property, assault and robbery relating to incidents in Waterval and Rustenburg Noord.
– African News Agency (ANA)