RUSTENBURG, March 13 – Lawyers representing 19 Nigerian men, accused of dealing and possession of drugs as well as contravening of the Sexual Offences Act, on Monday, pulled out of the case at the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court.
The two lawyers told the court they feared for their personal safety and that of their families.
This was the second case in Rustenburg, where lawyers pulled out of case were Nigerian nationals are accused of a crime. Another lawyer representing 14 Nigerian men accused of public violence, pulled out of the case in February, citing safety reasons.
This was after eight houses occupied by Nigerians were set alight on January 10, following allegations that the houses were operating as brothels and drug houses. The 14 Nigerian men were expected to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on April 4, for trial. They were denied bail after they told the court it would not be safe for them if they were released on bail.
The 19 men were found in possession of cocaine with an estimated street value of R400,000, and cash amounting to R53,000 during operation Kolomaka (sweep clean) in Rustenburg. Four vehicles valued at R550,000 — allegedly used for these crimes — were confiscated by the police.
North West police said the arrests came after an intensive investigation which started at the beginning of February to deal with alleged illicit drug dealings and brothels at various residences in Rustenburg and Tlhabane.
The men were remanded in custody and their case postponed to March 15, for bail application and legal representation.