Six years on, the people of Marikana and surrounding areas will converge on the infamous koppie in the mining community outside Rustenburg, where 34 striking miners were shot. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA Pictures

Marikana - As mineworkers gather in Marikana to remember their fallen colleagues, government has been urged to do more to honour the lives of the 34 mineworkers that were killed by the police in Marikana. 

The 34 mineworkers were shot dead by the police on August 16 2012 at Lonmin's Marikana operations in the North West. 

The mineworkers were on strike demanding a R12 500 monthly salary in the lead up to the massacre.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said the demands for better wages made by those mineworkers six years ago have yet to be met. 

The labour federation union said that most of the police officers that were involved in shooting the miners have yet to be brought before a court to account for their actions. 

“Saftu also continues to demand that all those responsible for planning, ordering and carrying out the murderous attack be charged, tried and sentenced. This must include the board and top management of Lonmin in 2012 for their complicity in the massacre, including board member President [Cyril] Ramaphosa who, before the massacre, sent messages to management calling for “concomitant action" against the strikers,” said Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven. 

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma to investigate what happened on that fateful day.  

Bishop Seoka, who played an instrumental role in negotiating with the mineworkers in 2012, said the government needs to do something more concrete to remember the “darkest day in SA's democratic history”. 

“A much more comprehensive and focused engagement with communities as to how to properly honour the memory of those killed on the darkest day of South Africa’s democratic history is needed. Such an approach could involve the establishment of a memorial centre from which social outreach services could be offered,” said Seoka. 

The call for August 16 to be declared a “Memorial Day” have also been echoed by some political parties including the DA. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he had written to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that the day is dedicated to honouring the mineworkers by declaring it a Memorial Day. 

The ANC said it commits itself to make sure that another massacre does not take place. 

The party has called on mining companies to honour their commitments to improve the lives of the communities they are in. 

“We call upon the government to move with urgency in implementing the recommendations as directed by the Farlam Commission and particularly pay attention to interventions aimed at alleviating the plight of the affected families. Mining companies must similarly move with speed in implementing their commitment to improving the socio-economic conditions of these communities,” said the ANC’s Zizi Kodwa. 

The EFF said the massacre showed that the ANC does not care about black lives. The party still insists that ANC has not taken responsibility for its role in the massacre.

Various events are planned for the day, with the Maimane expected to visit the area while trade union Amcu is hosting a memorial event at the koppie in Marikana later on Thursday. 

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