The alleged illegal miners responded to the confrontation by setting fire to the reeds to keep away the community members. Some of their heavy-duty tools which they had abandoned on operating sites were confiscated.
Several people were arrested, among them foreign nationals who appeared to be in the country illegally. At one point, illegal miners, allegedly from Mozambique, were caught and stripped naked by residents. The group was rescued by the police.
Meanwhile, the police have called for calm.
Gauteng deputy commissioner Lt-Gen Tebello Mosikili said the police were going underground to search for illegal miners.
Members of the tactical response team were expected to be dispatched to the area this evening.
Mosikili said the police needed the assistance of the community to curb the illegal operations in the area.
By the afternoon, police were sorting through scores of sacks which had been abandoned by the zama-zamas, which were to be processed and sifted for gold particles.
This is a developing story.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.