Bishop chased away after being pelted with stones

Johannesburg - Protesters in Majakaneng village near Mooinooi, North West, threw stones at Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn and his colleague as they tried to speak to residents on Wednesday, he said.

"The situation here is very tense, the presence of police and the firing of rubber bullets is aggravating the situation," Verryn said.

"I came here with a colleague to try and mediate and when we were approaching the protesters, they started throwing stones at us and told us to 'voetsek' [go away],'' he said.

He said he and his fellow priest from the local community walked away unharmed.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, he said.

"Roads have been closed, there is chaos everywhere... I am standing on the side of a road right now and there is a vehicle on fire as we speak," Verryn said.

North West police spokesperson Thulani Ngubane could not be reached for comment.

Verryn said he would try to approach mine companies in the area to be part of a mediation process with the residents.

On Tuesday, residents complained about water and electricity supply in the area and barricaded roads and burnt tyres.

Earlier, the North West community safety department said protesters were throwing stones at vehicles travelling between Rustenburg and Pretoria.

The stoning of vehicles led to traffic officials closing the road between Mooinooi and Brits.

The R104 between Mooinooi and Bokfontein was also closed.

Motorists were advised to use the Lonmin private road as an alternative.

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