South Africa discontent spreads

Violence in South Africa’s townships has spread as residents protest about what they say is a lack of basic services, such as water and housing.

Police have fired rubber bullets at demonstrators in Johannesburg, the Western Cape and the north-eastern region of Mpumalanga.

More than 100 people have been arrested during the past week.

In Mpumalanga, there were reports of businesses being looted and foreigners seeking protection from police.

The rising tensions in the townships have revived memories of xenophobic attacks on foreigners last year in which more than 60 people died.

Poverty pledge

On Tuesday, police cars were stoned in Thokoza near Johannesburg during a demonstration about living conditions that turned violent.

Nearby township Diepsloot saw cars and houses being burnt last week in protest at plans to tear down makeshift shacks to make way for a sewage pipe.

President Jacob Zuma promised to improve service delivery when he came to power in April, and said fighting poverty was his priority.

South Africa announced in June that it was facing its worst recession in 17 years.

Fifteen years after the African National Congress won its first election, over a million South Africans still live in shacks, many without access to electricity or running water.

The slow provision of replacement housing has long been controversial – nearly three million have been built, but the allocation has been prone to nepotism and corruption.

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