Sasolburg, Free State - A house was stoned and a construction site was set alight in apparent criminal attacks in Sasolburg overnight, Free State police said on Thursday.

“It appeared to be criminally motivated: people taking an opportunity,” Constable Peter Kareli said.

Two people have died and several have been injured in protests in the town since Sunday.

The motive for the attack on the house was not known, as it was not owned by a municipal official, he said.

“About 12 or 13 people started throwing stones at the house, then they ran away.” No one was injured.

On Thursday morning, residents began returning to work after recent protests over municipal demarcation.

“Everything is under control, although the situation is still tense,” Kareli said

Residents started protesting on Sunday in opposition to the proposed merger, in 2016, of the Matsimaholo municipality in Sasolburg with the Ngwathe municipality, under which Parys falls.

Co-operative Governance and Public Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi announced on Tuesday that the merger would not immediately go ahead.

Kareli said that late on Wednesday afternoon residents, of their own volition, began to clean up the debris left on the streets after the protest.

“We are still going to have a lot of police officials in the area until we are convinced that the situation is calm,” he said. - Sapa