South African police fired rubber bullets in Pretoria on Wednesday as protest erupted in the central business district, with rioters setting several small businesses alight.
Footage circulated in local media showed people who appeared to be looting during the chaos.
Authorities said criminals were exploiting the tense situation.
A local newspaper said the clashes started after taxi drivers clashed with drug dealers operating in the area.
The taxi drivers had reportedly decided to target sellers of “nyaope,” a common street drug in South Africa.
A taxi driver was allegedly shot and killed in the confrontation, thus, riots broke out and quickly escalated, with hundreds of taxis blocking major roads and the city suspending bus services.
Police urged vehicles to avoid the area.