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Roads blocked as protest flares up in Soweto

This is one of several protests that have gripped the country in the last few days to highlight a lack of services.

Burning debris obstructs a road during protest action in Pennyville, Soweto on 12 April 2019. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Pennyville in Soweto has been brought to a complete standstill on Friday morning, with the N17 and main roads in the area barricaded.

Residents are protesting over housing.

This is one of several protests that have gripped the country in the last few days to highlight a lack of services.

Pennyville residents said that they are living in an orderless township, with no clarity on who owns the land that they live on.

The area has been on shutdown since 1am this morning, with rocks and burning rubble barricading the roads.

"Five companies all claim to own this place, so we are confused as to who owns this place, so that's why we're here and we want to say to Mayor Mashaba 'please come to this place and assist us'. Even today we're going to submit a another memo to Premier Makhura."

Meanwhile, public order policing officers have been deployed to at least three provinces across the country where service delivery protests could flare up again less than a month before South Africans head to the polls.

In the Free State, three trucks were torched overnight in Steynsrus.

While 51 people have been arrested for public violence after they torched a post office and municipal vehicles in Kroonstad on Thursday.

It’s understood residents are unhappy about issues including unemployment.

The police's Stephen Thakeng said: “We’re also monitoring the situation in Steynsrus and that’s why we’re appealing for anyone with information to come forward so that we can ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.

“In Steynsrus, it’s a nearby town in Kroonstad, that’s when at about 9am last night three trucks were burnt.”

Protestors are expected to regroup in Hammanskraal, in the capital, while in Johannesburg Noordgesig and Kagiso residents have already started blocking roads with burning tyres this morning.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department's Wayne Minnaar said: “Protestors started burning tyres and placed rocks from approximately 4 am on Mooki Street and Main Street.

“And also on the N17, but it’s flared up again and roads have now been blocked off. So, Mooki Street is blocked off. Motorists travelling from Soweto have to use Soweto motorway.”

In the Western Cape, 20 people arrested during violent service delivery demonstrations in Lwandle are expected to appear in court soon.

Chaos erupted in the community on Thursday after scores of residents erected shacks on a plot of privately owned land opposite the N2 highway.

Protesters burnt tyres and looted businesses in the area, some of which will remain closed on Friday as a precautionary measure.

WATCH: Lwandle residents: We want to live a decent life

Wooden planks remain stuck in the ground on an empty piece of privately owned land next to the N2 highway in Lwandle authorities have removed zinc plates and other building materials.

Protest organiser Lifa Nofemele says they want to erect shacks on the vacant land and live there until they receive proper brick and mortar houses from the government.

“You want to wait for those subsidy houses from the government while we’re still here having at least proper space with toilets and electricity.”

Residents say they have been on housing waiting lists for years, living in people’s back yards, they believe their only option is to forcefully take pieces of land to build their homes on.

The Lwandle protest was one of two on Thursday, the second was in Khayelitsha, where residents took to the streets in protest against high water bills.

Police will continue to keep a watchful eye on Khayelitsha.

WATCH: 'Enough is enough': City of CT must scrap high water bills, say protesters