JOHANNESBURG - Criminologist Professor Kholofelo Rakubu says communities have known about illegal mining operations for years and some have even benefited from it.
It's been a day full of chaotic scenes as protesters in the West Rand have been shutting down illegal mine shafts.
Shacks believed to be housing zama zamas and foreign nationals have also been targeted.
Rakubu said: "Obviously communities they were well aware for years of the illegal miners and the operations. What we should remember is that South Africa has never been able to control the impact or influence these operations on young people on the community.
"So it is justifiable with the crime rate that has happened in Krugersdorp now with this level of crime it is justifiable to look at illegal immigrants - they want something that makes sense to explain high levels of criminality.
"Now I guess with what has transpired the community is not safe and they feel the vicinity of illegal miners they might be subjected to what others have been with zama zamas now they want to be reactive because they have been there for years they were aware and some have benefited and worked with them some are in conflict with."