Two vehicles torched and generator stolen during protest
Police arrested three women and a man for public violence and damage to infrastructure
Protesters torched a panel van and stole a generator after blocking the Old Uitenhage Road between Despatch and Bethelsdorp on Tuesday morning.
According to police, a total of two vehicles were torched in separate incidents during the protest, which started before 5am.
Officials said there were two groups of protesters who blocked both the Port Elizabeth and Despatch side of the road.
By 10am, police had managed to open the road after arresting three women and a man for public violence and damage to essential infrastructure including the roads.
Police spokesperson Captain Johan Rheeder said a group of protesters torched a VW Golf 7 shortly before 8am.
“They stopped the car and threw stones at the vehicle. The group then forced a man out of the car and he ran away. A few minutes later the car was torched,” he said.
Captain Gerda Swart said that in one of the incidents a 57-year-old man and his passenger were forced to stop by a group of protesters.
“It is alleged that the driver and his passenger were travelling in a white Kia panel van on the R368 at about 5.40am, when they were stopped by a group of protesters standing in the road.
"They ordered the two men to climb out of the vehicle, which they did. It is further alleged that some of the protesters then took a generator and tools from the vehicle, before setting the vehicle alight,” Swart said.
“The driver and the passenger of the vehicle fled in the direction of Khayamnandi, Despatch and alerted police. No one has been arrested [in relation to this incident] and detectives are following up on leads.”
The estimated damage is about R152,000.
The four will appear in the Gelvandale Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.