Cape Town 31-03-04 Protestors burnt tyres in Elsies river protesting against a mans house who was taken down . They threw rocks at police who retaliated by shooting rubber bulletts , tear gas , stun grenades and a water canon was used to disperse the crowd Pic BRENTON geach

Durban - Rubber bullets and teargas were used to disperse about 1500 protesters from the N3 near Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Wednesday.

“The protesters were throwing stones at passing vehicles. Two cases of malicious damage to property have been opened for investigation,” Captain Thulani Zwane said.

The protests started on Friday, but died down over the weekend. They erupted again on Monday and Wednesday. Protesters have been calling for the Mooi Mpofana local municipality mayor Ntombi Mpangase to be given the sack.

N3 Toll Concession spokeswoman Andy Visser said on Wednesday: “The situation in the Mooi River area is volatile, with a few motorists reporting stoning of vehicles and intermittent blockading of the N3.

“Furthermore, manning of the Mooi River Toll Plaza has been affected by the protest action causing delays and queues at times.”

She urged motorists to either delay or avoid travelling through Mooi River.

“The challenge remains that the situation rapidly changes and we are primarily focused on making sure that motorists along with our staff are safe,” she said.

On Monday police said they had arrested 10 people. It was not immediately clear if more had been arrested during Wednesday's protests.

On Monday the province's cooperative governance and traditional affairs department said it had sent a rapid response team to defuse the situation.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from department spokesman Lennox Mabaso.