Protesting residents at the Zandspruit informal settlement retreated on Wednesday afternoon after blocking roads and throwing stones at cars.
"The police have managed to restore calm, but they are still monitoring the situation," Johannesburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.
There was a heavy police presence in the settlement by late afternoon as residents returned from work. Access to certain areas was being controlled as a precautionary measure.
The protest, which started at around 3.30am on Wednesday, saw locals burning tyres, blocking roads such as Beyers Naude Drive, and pelting passing cars with stones.
Residents said the reason for their protest was lack of service delivery. A woman who only identified herself as Nokuzola said residents were tired of living in shacks and receiving poor sanitation, water and electricity services. She said many people in the informal settlement had died due to shack fires.
Minnaar said Beyers Naude had been reopened, but he advised motorists to use alternative routes such as Hendrik Potgieter or Malibongwe roads.