What was meant to unite and build the community, it is slowly destroying it. This after the community members from various villages in Ga-Mphahlele area turned against each other, due to the operation of Dithabeng chrome mine.
There have been controversies regarding the legitimacy of the Chrome mine since it opened in 2017. It is alleged that the Chrome mining is illegal and lawyers representing the Mphahlele Royal council and the community has since filed an interdict at the Polokwane High court in a bid to stop the mining activities.
However, despite the court interdict, the mine continues with its operations. It is alleged that the Regent King Ngwana-Mohube Phathudi-Mphahlele and her son Malekutu Phathudi-Mphahlele illegally sold the prospecting mining rights granted to the Mphahlele Community Development Trust to Dithabeng mining company.
On Thursday 3 May 2018, some outraged community members from Sefalaolo village blocked the road leading to the mine with stones and other objects, to prevent the mine trucks from passing.
The other tar road next to the Mphahlele Taxi Rank was also blocked with burning tyres, stones, and other objects.
People using public transport were left stranded as buses and taxis services were interrupted.
Five schools were closed on that day, with learners seen being amongst the group that was protesting.
Speaking to Sekhukhune Newspaper, a protesting community member who wished to remain anonymous said, they are not against the mining operations, what they want is a tarred road and development in the area.
“It is not right that the trucks come and go from the mine, taking our minerals and we do not have a tarred road to our village” Anonymous said
He also added that the dust caused by the trucks is affecting their health. However, some community members had opposing views, saying that the mine is illegal, and it must close down. Protesters blocked the roads throughout the night from Thursday, until the Public Order Police came on Friday morning to unblock the roads.
Non-protesting community members who also work at the mine assisted the police in unblocking the roads, which brewed tension amongst the protesting group.
The two groups started throwing stones at each, which led the police to shoot with rubber bullets to disperse the crowds’ .No injuries were reported, and no one was arrested. The roads were still blocked on Sunday 6 May 2018.