Protesting residents of Schubart Park flats, in Pretoria, set fire to refuse in the stairwells, says Tshwane emergency services.
“There has been some tension there… because there was apparently no water or electricity in the block of flats,” said spokesman Johan Pieterse.
A flat on the 15th floor was completely gutted by the blaze, and rubbish accumulated on the stairs was set alight.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation, Pieterse said.
In July 2008, four adults and a toddler burnt to death when neighbouring Kruger Park flats were set alight in protest against evictions from Schubart Park by a private security company.
In November 2008, the municipality announced it would renovate the block of flats, as they were seen as a health and safety hazard.
That year on Christmas day, 50 people were arrested when protests — also over water and electricity cuts — turned violent at the building.