Three vehicles, including a Golden Arrow bus and a security company vehicle, were torched in Cape Town early on Wednesday morning, Western Cape traffic spokesperson Kenny Africa said.
"It was on Goven Mbeki and New Eisleben roads," said Africa. A City of Cape Town truck was also set alight. The security vehicle was a Fidelity van.
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said they arrived on scene just after 07:00 with an escort, because a volatile group had gathered nearby.
The torchings happened near a major intersection in Philippi and near some shops and schools. The area is a suburb south-east of the Cape Town CBD.
Bronwyn Dyke-Beyer confirmed that a bus driver was in shock after a Golden Arrow bus was set alight and completely burnt out.
"At this stage, the motive is unknown, but there were protests taking place in the vicinity," said the Golden Arrow spokesperson.
There were no passengers on board at the time.
The latest flare-up comes after countrywide protests in April over a number of social issues.
Dyke-Beyer said buses in the area were being diverted, but that it would not have any significant impact on their services.
Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk confirmed the torchings and said Eisleben Road had been littered with stones.
Early indications are that a protest was also taking place outside a nearby court. It is understood that the protesters are residents of Siyabongena informal settlement in Philippi East, who feel upset over electricity that was cut by Eskom at a power box on Tuesday.
"Community members than set tyres alight and packed stones in [the] road," said Van Wyk.
Comment from protesters will be added once obtained.
Public Order Police and metro police were on the scene and the fire brigade had cleaned the road near where the vehicles were burnt.
Van Wyk said the reason for the protest was not immediately known.
On Tuesday night, six of the police's Anti Gang Unit members were shot in Samora Machel, Cape Town.
They were conducting an operation following a number of recent shootings in the area.