The offices of KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) near Cato Crest in Durban burnt down on Thursday morning.
Nomusa Dube-Ncube, MEC for COGTA in KZN, said it was an arson attack. "Reasons for this barbaric act are unknown but are believed to be related to a public protest by informal settlement dwellers and land invaders due to government's crackdown on lawlessness," he said.
"These offices were previously attacked on Tuesday [12 March] by protesters who threw what looked like a petrol bomb which caused some damage. This was during a protest where vehicles travelling on the Jan Smuts Highway and Vusi Mzimele (Bellair) Road intersection were attacked by land invaders who threw stones at passing vehicles and blocked roads with burning tyres, trees and other rubbish," said Dube-Ncube.
"We strongly condemn this heinous act ... This is a direct sabotage of the state infrastructure which ends up having dire consequences on innocent residents who rely on government services such as the ones provided by our department. We are calling upon law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the perpetrators of this dastardly deed," said Dube-Ncube.
She said these offices house sections of the department's administration and are believed to have been a random target.
The MEC called upon all the surrounding communities to come forward with any information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. They will be made an example of what happens to a person who destroys state property, she said.
GroundUp reported on the protests that started last Thursday. Residents said the protesters were the shack dwellers whose shacks were demolished by the eThekwini municipality at the start of the month.