Two people were killed during a clash with South African police on Monday when residents of a village marched to a nearby town in North West province to protest about water shortages, police said.
The incident is the latest in a series of confrontations between police and protesters angry at poor public services in Africa’s biggest economy, adding to pressure on President Jacob Zuma’s government ahead of elections in about four months.
Monday’s protest took place near the town of Brits, which lies 80 kms (50 miles) north of Johannesburg and near the country’s platinum belt, the scene of often violent labor unrest the past two years.
The region has also been hit by drought.
“Two protestors died and two were wounded when they marched to Brits and clashed with police. It is suspected that police fired shots but this is being investigated,” police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said.
He did not provide further details. It was not clear if the police had used live ammunition or rubber bullets to quell the protest, which was triggered by a water shortage.