Johannesburg - A man has been arrested for allegedly setting alight tents of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on the eve of the general elections, Gauteng police said on Wednesday.

The man was in possession of a petrol bomb when he was arrested on Tuesday in Bekkersdal, south of Johannesburg, Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said.

He faced charges of public violence and arson.

The man was expected to appear in the Westonaria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Dlamini said two IEC tents were torched in Bekkersdal.

Residents also beat up a man they accused of theft, but police intervened and rescued him.

“They ran away and burnt tyres and two tents belonging to the IEC,” he said.

Bekkersdal has been the site of protests over service delivery and other issues since last year.

In February, voter registration was disrupted in Bekkersdal when two voter registration stations were petrol-bombed.

In March, an African National Congress delegation was pelted with stones during a door-to-door campaign there. - Sapa