South African police have dispersed a protest against poor living conditions in a township west of Johannesburg, police said.

Police made 45 arrests after firing rubber bullets to intervene protesters on Wednesday in town of Fochville.

Residents of Fochville, many of whom live in shacks, have been protesting since Tuesday, demanding better homes and access to running water.

The crowd burned the house of a councillor representing the country's ruling ANC party and looted shops. A police officer was also attacked and injured during the violence.

"The protest has been going on since Tuesday and today it turned violent," said police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale.

"The people were throwing stones at the police and blocking the streets with burning tyres, we had to act to restore order."

Those arrested will appear in court on Thursday.

The protesters shouted down the local mayor as he tried to address the crowd, accusing him of ignoring their plight.

Violent protests over poor services often erupt across the country, a symptom of growing dissatisfaction with the ANC-led government.

Source: AFP