Several people were injured on Tuesday when police fired rubber bullets at crowds resisting eviction from newly built homes at Delft on the Cape Flats.
Western Cape police spokesperson Superintendent Andre Traut said police had to use "some sort of force" when the illegal occupants became violent.
Police and staff of the sheriff of the court carrying out an eviction order were pelted with stones.
The order was made against people illegally occupying houses, meant for residents of an informal settlement which is being cleared to make way for the Gateway housing project.
"The prevented the sheriff of the court personnel from executing the eviction order and on those grounds the police were necessitated to act," said Traut.
A "small number" of rubber bullets and stun grenades were used.
He had a preliminary tally of seven people with minor injuries as a result of the shooting, all of whom were treated on the scene by emergency services personnel.
On Tuesday evening, Traut said, everything was quiet in the area.
"There are no reports of any violence."
He said a group of about 300 people remained in the area and that police were keeping an eye on the situation.
Traut said the police were not involved in the actual evictions, and were on the scene only to maintain law and order.
Anti-Privatisation Forum spokesperson Patra Sindane said 22 people had been left seriously injured after clashes with police.
Sindane also said teargas had been used, something the police deny.
He said police opened fire without engaging in talks. "Three people who got shot were trying to negotiate with police."
Sindane said most people were eventually evicted.
Some had managed to stay in their homes because the violence meant police had not had a chance to go further into the community.
"Obviously most of will spend the night on the street. There is no alternative place for them to go."
He said some meetings were being organised for Wednesday to allow people to regroup and find a way to deal with the situation.
"We can't just let this thing go. We must find a way of defending the poor. Every time they are always voiceless."
Sindane said Delft evictees hoped to use the courts as a tool in their struggle.
On Monday afternoon, a Cape High Court judge rejected an application by the occupants for leave to appeal against the eviction order.
The evictees still planned to appeal their case at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
"Though we know that justice tends to be on the side of the authorities, sometimes we use institutions as a tool... Anything can happen. We are the law-abiding citizens of this country," Sindane said.
On Tuesday, the department of housing said the N2 Gateway needed to be protected from "anarchy".
Director general Itumeleng Kotsoane said the "rule of law must prevail" in relation to the situation at Delft.
"The houses must be returned to the building contractors for repair and completion, and allocated according to the equitable allocation policy agreed to by the three spheres of government at the commencement of the N2 Gateway Pilot Project."
Kotsoane said the government's N2 Gateway housing project to provide accommodation for poorer South Africans was built on a pioneering housing policy.
"It is a project that should be nurtured and guarded by all South Africans," he said. - Sapa