Four vehicles were set alight and several businesses were looted in a violent protest in Kuyga, Port Elizabeth, on Wednesday morning, Eastern Cape police said.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the protest started at about 05:00 when residents of Kuyga blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks.
“During the course of the morning, the protesters became violent and started to break down the walls at the back of business premises in the area to gain entrance to the properties. Four vehicles were set alight while other vehicles were damaged,” Janse van Rensburg said.
She said the actions of protesters who vandalised property and looted businesses were common criminal behaviour.
“No one was injured during these incidents,” she said, adding that some of the stolen property was recovered and returned to its lawful owners.
Janse van Rensburg said local police and public order police dispersed a group of people.
“No arrests have been made and the SAPS are maintaining high visibility in the area.” she said.
Cases of public violence, malicious damage to property and theft have been opened for investigation at the Kabega Park police station.
Mount Road cluster commander Major General Thembisile Patekile strongly condemned the lawlessness and acts of criminality during the protest.
“This is totally unacceptable, and we will not tolerate people venting their anger by damaging private and public property or blockading our roads,” she said.
Patekile said police had intensified their operations and would take strong action against perpetrators of such incidents.
“The Constitution provides and allows the community to protest, however, there are limitations attached to these rights,” Patekile added.