Crosses dot the hill near Marikana in memory of the miners killed in 2012. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane says President Cyril Ramaphosa should declare August 16 as "Marikana Memorial Day". 

Maimane said a Memorial Day was an important step in commemorating the deaths of mineworkers who died on August 16. 

The 34 mineworkers were shot dead by the police on August 16 2012. Weeks before the massacre, the mineworkers were on strike demanding wage increases. 

Thursday marks six years since the massacre and a number of events are planned to commemorate the day.

Maimane said since similar calls to former president Jacob Zuma were ignored, the DA hopes that Ramaphosa will be able to make the declaration. 

"Such a declaration is in the interests of justice and national unity. It would also go some way in giving meaning to the President’s commitment in his State of the Nation Address to ‘play whatever role [he] can’," said Maimane. 

"Healing wounds means more than last month’s R100 million settlement offer by the ANC government to families of the victims for general damages. Closure cannot be bought. Our call will never exist in isolation. The Marikana tragedy will forever be a stain on our national conscience and many in society, including trade unions and political parties, believe that tomorrow should be honoured accordingly," he said.