DA leader Mmusi Maimane says miners need to be given shares. PHOTO: Mathews Lonkokile/ANA

Marikana - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says the people working underground in mines deserve to be given shares. 

He was speaking at the Marikana memorial event on Thursday which remembered the 34 mine workers gunned down by police on 16 August 2012. Ten people had been killed in violence the preceding week amid a wildcat strike at Lonmin mine.

Maimane said the undue system of mining that was benefited from the apartheid era needed to be abolished, along with corrupt individuals. He said the recognition of the work done by mineworkers will give dignity and respect to the mining industry.

‘’My plea is for the employees that during apartheid it was a few people at the top who had money, while those going underground got nothing. That was apartheid and it benefited those at the top and ignored the ones at the bottom. We must never have a new system that benefits the people at the top and ignores the workers,’’ he said.

‘’Instead of giving shares to politically-connected people that end up using their political connections to destroy our people, let us give shares to the people who go underground. So that one day they can stand up and say I have shares to give to the next generation and the next generation and the next. We need a future in mining, not the apartheid-style mining,’’ said Maimane.

The DA leader said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had forgotten about the people and its duties and responsibilities to them. He said the ANC must be removed to make way for basic services such as the provision of water to people. The crowd cheered at the mention of the ideas for new plans to create modern living structures for miners.

‘’How long must we wait, six years is enough. If the ANC is not willing to act, then we must conclude that the ANC was complicit in the actions that took place here in Marikana."

Maimane further echoed calls that 16 August be affirmed an official South African holiday and said once the ANC is removed the declaration will be made.

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African News Agency (ANA)