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Marikana - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was given a hero's welcome at a commemoration rally in Marikana, North West, on Friday.
The crowd clapped, whistled, and raised hands when he arrived. Guests in a VIP tent rose when he entered.
Malema wore a red EFF beret, a black shirt, and dark sunglasses.
Friday's event marks a year since 44 people were killed during a wage-related strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Thirty-four mineworkers were killed when police fired on them on August 16 while attempting to disperse and disarm them.
The workers - armed with spears, pangas, iron rods and knobkerries - had gathered on top of a hill. They were demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.
Malema arranged for lawyers to represent the 270 mineworkers arrested after the shooting. At the time he was suspended as leader of the ANC Youth League. He was later expelled from the ANC.
Men dressed in green Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) clothing sang union songs at the large white tent where families of the deceased mineworkers were seated. Men carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun and clapped in unison with their fellow workers.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said a year later mineworkers were still paid a “slave wage”.
“Nothing has changed. Workers are still not benefiting from the economy of the country,” he said. - Sapa