On Monday, residents angry at the high cost of basic services barricaded roads with burning tyres and set ablaze a municipal building in Thembisa township, northeast of the financial hub, Johannesburg.
Authorities said two people were killed in alleged police shootings after the protests broke out in the morning.
“It’s alleged they have been shot,” local municipal police spokeswoman Kelebogile Thepa told AFP.
Later in the evening, Thepa said two more bodies had been found near the entrance of the burned building – bringing the total death toll to four.
Police were yet to confirm what caused the deaths, she added. Investigations were under way.
The latest bout of protests came less than two weeks after former President Thabo Mbeki warned the country could see an uprising similar to the Arab Spring, triggered by mounting discontent.
Last month, Mbeki accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of failing to deliver on his promises to tackle widespread poverty, inequality and unemployment, which stands at more than 34.5 percent, with youth joblessness at nearly 64 percent.
The situation has been worsened by the rise of food prices occasioned by disruptions in wheat supply as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
The 10 days of rioting followed the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for snubbing corruption investigators. They happened mainly in KwaZulu-Natal province but also in Gauteng where Johannesburg is located.