Mpumalanga police have condemned the violence in recent service delivery protests in the province.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Hlathi said offices and an earth-moving machine were set alight during protests in Lillydale, in the Bushbuckridge municipality, on Monday.

Nine people were arrested for public violence and arson.

Residents had been demonstrating their dissatisfaction over municipal water, which they said was unfit for consumption.

The nine would appear in the Calcutta Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Hlathi said the arrests followed the sentencing last month of Division Zungu, 32, Bhekisisa Gule, 34, and Sibusiso Lukhele, 21, for instigating a service delivery protest in Driefontein, near Piet Retief.

“They mobilised community members to barricade roads in the area, obstruct the entrance to a local mine, damaged the mine property and looted shops belonging to foreign nationals,” he said.

Zungu was sentenced to eight years in prison, Gule to four years and Lukhele to two years.

“Police management in the province believe the sentencing of the trio will serve as a deterrent to those who take part in and instigate violent protests,” he said. – Sapa