From the BBC, we read more about the latest violent protests and the conditions behind them.
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 foreign-owned businesses being looted as foreigners sought police protection.
President Jacob Zuma promised to improve service delivery when he came to power in May, and said fighting poverty was his priority.
South Africa announced in June that it was facing its worst recession in 17 years.
The recession and job losses have added fuel to long-standing grievances over the government's failure to deliver basic services, and the protests are the most direct challenge to President Zuma since he came to power, our correspondent adds.
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.