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SOUTH Africa needs a national minimum wage in order to avoid another situation similar to Marikana, says Cosatu.

This was one of the issues discussed at a shop stewards’ council meeting in Turffontein, Joburg, yesterday for Cosatu’s Gauteng members, including the National Union of Mineworkers.

More than 1 000 people held a minute’s silence in remembrance of the 34 deceased Marikana mineworkers.

Later, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was greeted by loud cheers and singing.

Ikhomanisi uVavi alisoze lathengisa abasebenzi [A communist, Vavi, would never sell out the workers],” sang the crowd before he addressed them.

The situation in Marikana was exacerbated by the low wages of between R4 000 and R6 400 earned by the miners, said Vavi.

He said no worker in SA should earn below the “national living level” of R4 500 and that the unions affiliated with Cosatu should consider pushing parliament to legislate a national minimum wage, which would then adjust existing wages upwards.

“A worker who goes down [into a mine] to risk his life deserves not only R12 500 but many more times above that,” Vavi said to loud applause.