Criminals may be paid to cause mayhem during protests in Vuwani in Limpopo over demarcation issues, according to Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team spokesperson Nsovo Sambo.
Two people died when their car hit a road barricade on Tuesday night and ignited.
The third person in the vehicle was seriously injured.
On Wednesday, Sambo said they would work closely with the police to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.
“It appears there are people who are hellbent on hijacking the genuine fight of residents, which is to demand that the Municipal Demarcation Board reverse its decision to merge Vuwani with Malamulele and other surrounding villages to form a new municipality,” he said.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a case of culpable homicide was opened on Tuesday.
He also advised motorists to drive with caution, especially at night, as there might still be barricades on some of the roads in the area.
“Because of the volatility of the situation, the possibility of stones being thrown at passing vehicles from the bushes cannot be ruled out and in the event of this happening, the police must be contacted immediately.
“On Tuesday, six cars were damaged by people throwing stones from the bushes and cases of malicious damage to property were opened,” he said.
Regarding the total shutdown of services which has seen local businesses brought to a standstill and children barred from going to school, Sambo would not relent, saying the protest action would continue until residents’ demands are met.
The department of basic education has called on the protesters to allow children to go to school.
However, he said: “We consider all the rights of equality, but we can’t give certain rights preferential treatment.”
The shutdown would be suspended every weekend to allow for funerals and other gatherings, he added.
On Tuesday, the department said more than 70 schools have been affected by the shutdown – 49 primary schools and 26 secondary schools. The number of matriculants who are being affected by the disruptions is 1 702.