Buildings torched at the start of violence in Rustenburg on January 10, when locals targeted the buildings which they claimed were used as brothels or drug dens. FILE PHOTO: ANA

RUSTENBURG - Fourteen Nigerian men accused of public violence appeared briefly in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Their case was postponed to April 25, for a new lawyer representing one of the accused to consult with his client.

Community members attending the court proceeding, charged at the new lawyer outside the court demanding to know why he had agreed to represent one of the men.

Community leader Themba Skosana said they were not happy that he was representing the accused.

"They have forgotten what we live by, and that is the safety of our children and our community. We are shocked that they found another person to represent them..."

Previously lawyers representing the men pulled out stating safety concerns. 

The lawyer representing the other 13 men, Omoreige Ogboro from Pretoria, did not attend court proceedings on Tuesday. He had previously said he wanted to see the content of the docket to see if he could make any representation to the prosecution.

The men who are not to be identified for their own safety, were arrested on January 21, after they allegedly blocked access in and out of the Rustenburg police station, in protest at attacks on Nigerian nationals.

At least eight guest houses suspected to operate as brothels or drug houses were set alight on January 10 when taxi drivers led a "raid" on Nigerians, accusing them of selling drugs and operating brothels.

The men were denied bail on February 13, when they told the court it was not safe for them to be released on bail.

African News Agency/ANA