Kruger Park visitors warned of violent protests

News24 Correspondent

Polokwane - Protesters at the Palabora Mining Company and other mines turned their anger on motorists on Friday.

Villagers who live near the mine took to the streets in the evening and pelted cars with stones, and burnt vehicles.

Police have warned tourists using the R71 road to the Kruger National Park, and locals travelling in the evening, to be cautious.

At least three vehicles were burnt and one person has been arrested since the protest over mine jobs began on Wednesday.

Police said they had attempted to restore peace and stability in the area, but warned that although the situation appeared to be calm in the day, it was dangerous at night.

"They don’t protest during the day, they assemble near the road in the evening and start to throw stones at motorist. We have many cases of malicious damage to property that were opened,” said Constable Dineo Sekgotodi on Friday.

However, she refused to release the number of vehicles damaged during the "evening protest", saying it was classified information.

Protests over mining jobs are increasing in Limpopo, and companies contracted to the mines have suffered major losses.

More than 20 trucks have been burnt since protests started in Palabora and Burgersfort, Limpopo’s mining towns.

The affected road, is part of the Kruger National Park tourist route.

Kruger National Park spokesperson William Mabasa said the park had not felt the impact due to an alternative gate, but he appealed to those going to park to avoid the route and use the Hoedspruit or Punda Maria gate.

"Protesters causes a lot of inconvenience to the tourists, it’s just that we are fortunate to have other gates, so we can advice our visitors to make use of them," he said.