This was a warning issued by the SAPD and other law enforcement agencies on Monday after it was confirmed that the Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge areas were identified as very high risk areas during the election period.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Acornhoek on Monday and unconfirmed reports indicated that Bushbuckridge and Hazyview were also part of his itinerary.
According to unconfirmed sources his main purpose was to calm emotions in the region prior to Wednesday’s national elections.
Read: HOEDSPRUIT: R40 is burning – shops looted, vehicles hijacked and several buildings set alight
Numerous communities in the region have threatened that no elections will take place in their areas unless their complaints were heard and addressed.
Rolling civil unrest, with numerous violent incidents reported, have become standard practice on the R40. This poses severe economic consequences for the region with tourists, not only in South Africa but worldwide, warned to avoid the R40 and the surrounding communities.
With the iconic Kruger national Park, the scenic Blyde River Canyon and some of the best private nature reserves in Africa all linked to the R40, the civil unrest will further damage and impoverish the communities in the area. Several known investors have cancelled plans to build lodges and tourism facilities in the region due to the uncontrollable and continuous civil unrest. Community demands vary from tar roads to better public transport to running water and better policing and a litany of other complaints and issues.
Unfortunately these are addressed with sometimes violent protests that seem to evoke little sympathy with national and provincial government and only lead to further marginalization by potential private investors who create jobs and develop the region.
A leading tourism operator, who asked to remain anonymous, told the HERALD on Monday that tourism operators worldwide are advised to avoid the R40 and bordering communities when planning bus or any other form of road trips.
“The region is simply too volatile and dangerous to risk travelling on this road. More and more people are avoiding it with a direct negative impact on the communities that live along its periphery,” the operator said.
Meanwhile local residents are strongly advised not to use the R40 – at least for the whole of this week.