Police are investigating cases of arson after two small "incendiary devices" were detonated at two Woolworths stores in Durban, TimesLive reported.
At the Woolworths store at Gateway mall, a device made from a torch and a cellphone reportedly caused a fire and the store was evacuated. Internal sprinklers extinguished the fire.
Meanwhile, at the Woolworths store at The Pavilion shopping centre, another device made from a cellphone was planted in a jacket pocket in a clothing rack. The store's sprinkler system extinguished this fire as well.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane told TimesLive that the police explosives unit removed the device.
"Another complaint was received at Gateway mall, where the Woolworths was on fire. Police investigated again and found something like a torch with a cellphone attached to it," Zwane reportedly said.
It is not clear if the incidents are related.
A police source who spoke to the Daily News said the devices were not bombs but incendiary devices, intended to start a fire rather than explode.
According to East Coast Radio, the device at The Pavilion was discovered at about 1.30am in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Gateway management reportedly said its centre operations team was called in to assist and the mall was operating as normal. The Pavilion and Woolworths reportedly did not immediately respond.
In June, a device made from a PVC pipe with cellphones attached to it was found under the chair of a moulana at a mosque in Verulam, Durban. Days before, three men launched an attack on the mosque, stabbing three people. One person died while two others were injured.
There is no evidence at this stage that the Woolworths incidents are related.