The security situation in South Africa cannot be compared to most of the developed world. The country is world leader when it comes to income inequality, and for that reason the crime rate is high. Many regions are safe, but in cities have to keep yourself to certain codes of conduct if you do not want to become a victim of crime. It is important to always use your common sense and intuition and, for example, not to decide to go out on the streets alone at night. In a group you are always less vulnerable. See to it that you know where you are going and do not go to places where you have no business.
In contrast to the big cities, though, Phalaborwa is generally safe. Because of its unique location adjacent to Kruger National Park, the town has become very attractive to tourists, which as a consequence has drastically improved local services. The town has multiple restaurants, guest houses, lodges, a shopping centre, and an airport. The residents of Phalaborwa usually, in contrast to people in the countryside, have a job, so the crime rate is relatively low. The project coordinators on the spot, who give you guidance as a participant, are always well-aware of any safety risks and will, at all times, advise and/or help you.