South African police fired rubber bullets, live rounds and tear gas on Tuesday at demonstrators protesting against the government's delivery of basic housing and education.

Residents in the township of Ermelo in Mpumalanga, about 200 km (120 miles) southeast of Johannesburg, burned tyres and threw home-made petrol bombs in the second day of clashes with police who have closed major roads leading into the area.

Local media reported that one resident was killed but the police would not confirm or deny the report.

Protests by poor blacks, a main support base for the African National Congress, have put pressure on the ruling party before local government elections scheduled for May.

Since taking power in 1994 the ANC has made gains in addressing apartheid-era inequalities but faces an uphill battle to meet its commitments to the poor who have become increasingly frustrated at the slow pace of delivery.

The ANC government has done infinitely well but it has not done nearly enough, said political analyst Nic Borain.

Residents said they were also frustrated with their local ANC representative because he was not addressing their problems.

Small municipal areas have become fiefdoms for local politicians. There is a degree of gangster politics where control of any budget becomes the means to control towns and this is the result of the ANC's cadre deployment, Borain said.

Similar protests took place in the run-up to last year's Soccer World Cup as the host nation's poor tried to use the sporting event to highlight their squalid living conditions.