Police fired rubber bullets on Wednesday morning to disperse residents who were combing Borwa, Westonaria, on Gauteng's West Rand in search of zama zamas.
Fuming residents barricaded roads in Borwa, a newly developed township, and accused police of preventing them from chasing away illegal miners operating on mine dumps in the area.
Police fired rubber bullets at the crowd that was attempting to go to a nearby mine dump.
Community leader Paseka Ndevu claimed that some illegal miners had fired shots at the crowd earlier in the morning.
"We want to chase them away from our area. We have been complaining to the police about people wearing blankets committing crimes in Borwa.
"Last week, we sent a petition to the Westonaria police station against illegal miners committing crimes in Borwa."
Ndevu said the police prevented them from going to the mine dump.
"We want to chase them away. The illegal miners who are here came from Krugersdorp, Mohlakeng and Kagiso," Charles Hlatswayo said.
"The police are afraid of illegal miners. Our police are armed and should be assisting us."
"The police say they are afraid of illegal miners who are armed with AK47s. We will chase them away if our police don't want to assist us."
Hlatswayo said he and a group of men went to the mine dump and found mining equipment used by illegal miners.
"We found equipment and work suits at the mine dump. Our police are working against us.
"They are cowards and only good at shooting at unarmed civilians. We won't tolerate this. We are not sleeping today. We will hunt the illegal miners until they are out," Hlatswayo said.
Protests against illegal mining have spread to several parts of the West Rand after eight women were gang-raped and a film crew robbed while filming a music video on a mine dump in West Village, Krugersdorp, last month.
Scores of men have been arrested in connection with the incident.