Violent protests have erupted around Pretoria, South Africa. Demonstrators burned buses and trucks and barricaded roads in protest at the ruling African National Congress' (ANC) decision to choose senior party member Angela Thoko Didiza as mayoral candidate in August's local elections. Residents set vehicles and tyres on fire and looted shops and businesses in the impoverished townships around Pretoria, such as Atteridgeville and Mamelodi.

Tshwane Metro police spokesman, Console Tleane, said a newly-built school was vandalised by gangs of rioters. There was an uneasy calm in the capital on Wednesday (22 June). With some roads impassable because of debris and burned-out vehicles from the violence with normal commercial life disrupted.

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People walk past the remnants of a burnt-out bus used to barricade a road in AtteridgevilleSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
A truck burns on a road near AtteridgevilleMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Locals attempt to gain access to a shop before looting it during protests in AtteridgevilleSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Locals carry a Coca-Cola branded refrigerator that was looted from a nearby shop during protests in AtteridgevilleSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Residents of Mamelodi, north-east of Pretoria, search for goods in a looted shopMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Jostina Mohlamonyne stands outside her shop after it was looted by residents of MamelodiMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Burnt furniture and fixtures are seen in a looted shop in PretoriaMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
People enter a looted shop in Mamelodi, north-east of PretoriaMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Residents search for goods in a looted shop in Mamelodi, north-east of PretoriaMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretoria
People try to extinguish a blaze in Atteridgeville, part of the city of Tshwane Metropolitan MunicipalityMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
A man tries to extinguish a fire in Pretoria's Atteridgeville townshipMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Residents throw stones and bricks at a burning structure in AtteridgevilleMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
Residents from Atteridgeville set a truck alight during a protestMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
A school pupil walks past a wall plastered with posters of South African President and ruling party African National Congress leader Jacob ZumaMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
A woman shouts in Pretoria during a meeting with the African National Congress provincial leadershipMujahid Safodien/AFP
South Africa Atteridgeville Pretroia
A burnt truck blocks a road in Pretoria's Shoshanguve townshipMujahid Safodien/AFP

The dispute flared after an ANC member was shot dead on Sunday (19 June) as party factions met to decide on a candidate as mayor of Pretoria's Tshwane municipality. The ANC leadership named senior party member and former cabinet minister Thoko Didiza as its candidate, overulling regional branch members.

Tshwane residents want the incumbent mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, to be allowed to run on the ANC ticket, but at a meeting with residents, Ramokgopa backed Didiza's selection and called for calm. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa urged Tshwane residents to accept Didiza even though she does not originally hail from the area (she comes from KwaZulu Natal province).

On 3 August, South Africa will hold local government elections that look likely to become a referendum on President Jacob Zuma's leadership amid mounting concern over weak economic growth. The ANC has been in power since the end of white-minority rule in 1994 but critics say it is losing support in areas - including Pretoria - where it was once unassailable.

Record unemployment and a looming recession have exacerbated discontent with President Jacob Zuma's leadership since the Constitutional Court ruled he had violated his oath of office by refusing to refund to the state some of the 240 million rand (about £11m, $16.25m) spent on refurbishing his private residence. Zuma survived impeachment in April.