Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency(ANA)

DURBAN - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Thursday that a controversial billboard erected by the DA in central Johannesburg on Wednesday was a way of "scoring political points" before the country's upcoming general election. 

The union issued a statement saying the DA's billboard - which lists over 100 names of citizens the opposition party believes died due to ANC misrule, including miners who died at Marikana - was a "sensitive matter" being used to score political points. 

 "Amcu calls upon the DA leader to immediately commission the removal of the billboard," said the statement. 

"Amcu is extremely disappointed with the DA and its leader, Mmusi Maimane, for utilising a painful part of history as part of their election campaign. We view it as highly opportunistic and totally out of order," said the statement.  

The union said that Maimane, "as a fellow South African and in particular a black person" should know how to "respect the cultural protocol of dealing with those who lost their lives." 

"It is general knowledge that the Marikana massacre was well-planned and orchestrated by our 'democratic government' to protect monopoly capital at the expense of the black mineworkers who were honestly protesting against economic exploitation." 

The union said that the State's delay in repatriations to the family of victims had opened a gap for "narrow political point scoring". 

Maimane had been attending the Marikana commemorations and he understood that it was the union's position that the massacre should never be used for "political posturing", said Amcu. 

"This is also why Maimane and the DA were barred from visiting the koppie at Marikana on the eve of the commemoration, for the same reason," said the statement. 

The DA should have consulted with AMCU, it said, who represented the families and the victims of Marikana. 

"If Maimane is really a progressive leader and if he truly wants to position the DA to be a governing party in future, he should immediately remove the billboard. It will make him stand out in the crowd in that he accepts constructive criticism that seeks to build and heal the nation. Political expediency should never cause us to lose our moral compass," said the statement. 

African News Agency (ANA)