Bathurst protests leave five homes torched and two cars gutted
Five homes and two cars were gutted by fire after violent protests erupted in Bathurst, near Port Alfred, on Sunday night.
Police have said that nine persons were treated at hospital following the spate of arson related attacks.
It was alleged the incidents started at about 5pm on Sunday when local political party agents took part in a motorcade, provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said.
"During the motorcade, groups of community members started throwing stones at vehicles and attacked other members of the community," Kinana said.
"At the same time, reports were received [about] a house that was set alight. A short while later three more reports were received of homes being burnt in separate locations.
He said reports were also received of vehicles being burnt.
"Several cases including arson, malicious damage to property and assault have been opened and are under investigation," Kinana said.
He said five suspects, aged between 20 and 55, were arrested and more arrests are imminent.
Provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga condemned the arson attacks calling them "coward acts".
"We cannot allow people to burn or torch other peoples’ houses or property despite any disagreements or reasons," Ntshinga said.
"The 72-hour activation plan has been implemented to investigate, track, arrest and bring to justice those suspected and responsible for such violent acts within this community.”
The suspects will appear in the Port Alfred Magistrates Court on Tuesday.