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The protesters blockaded streets with burning tyres, rocks and portable toilets.
RESIDENTS of Diepsloot Extension 1, north of Johannesburg, today woke up to scenes of looted shops and rock-lined streets. This after police fired rubber bullets at residents last night in what they said was meant to prevent them from continuing to loot shops following a protest they staged earlier in the day. About 300 residents said they were angry after rumours started circulating that they would be relocated from their homes and moved to Brits in the North West, about 50km north of Pretoria .
An SABC reporter was forced to flee on foot after angry Diepsloot residents petrol-bombed his company car while his colleagues' car's windows were pelted with stones.
The protest started after a meeting about the provision of houses, sanitation and basic services turned violent on Sunday.
The residents came to the meeting expecting to be told where their RDP houses would be built, but when local councillor Jan Mahlangu - who arrived in a police armoured vehicle - told them that a section of the informal settlement would have to make way for the installation of sewerage pipes, they started throwing stones at the police and the media.
A group of about 50 youths lined the R511 as it passes Diepsloot, throwing pieces of rubble at motorists, many of them heading back from Hartbeespoort Dam.
Traders selling everything from soap and lip balm to blankets hurriedly packed their wares into bakkies. Others without transport wrapped their goods into bundles and made a beeline through the maze of shacks in search of cover.
As they grew in confidence and number, the youths produced three tyres which were promptly set alight in the middle of the normally busy road.
Roaring out of the settlement, police Nyalas and Joburg metro police vehicles rushed to the scene, firing rubber bullets to disperse the group, chasing after them as they sought cover in the shackland, with a group of policemen emerging moments later with a few of the boisterous youths in tow. Fourteen people were arrested and will face charges of public violence.
In one police armoured vehicle, four police officers had emptied 600 rounds of rubber bullets between 10am and 2pm. After 2pm, they stopped at a local police station to load more rubber bullets.
Jacob Zuma faced the first critical test of his presidency today as violent protests at a lack of basic services spread in South Africa's townships. Residents hurled bottles and stones at police, who responded by firing rubber bullets and teargas. Smoke from burning tyres filled the air as thousands marched in a show of anger at poor services in townships in Johannesburg, Western Cape and the north-eastern region of Mpumalanga. Immigrants said they feared for their lives and sought police protection as there were reports of foreign-owned businesses being looted in Mpumalanga. Last year 62 people died in xenophobic attacks. The unrest comes as frustrations boil over at the government's record, 15 years after apartheid, at providing townships with basic services such as electricity, running water, housing and sanitation.