Johannesburg - Disgruntled miners from Xstrata's mine in Thorncliffe, Limpopo, went on the rampage on Friday, police said.
They blockaded roads leading to Sekhukhune and Burgersfort, said spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi.
"They threw stones at several cars and a truck and a bus were set alight."
Mulaudzi could not confirm reports that the miners were demonstrating after Xstrata fired them.
Police were called in earlier and re-inforcements arrived from Polokwane and other stations.
Three people were arrested and charged with public violence.
Further charges could still be added.
Mulaudzi said several motorists whose vehicles were damaged had opened cases of malicious damage to property.
The violence had abated by Friday afternoon, but police were still keeping watch.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.