The Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (Amcu) suggests that the May 1 workers day be moved to August 16 in memory of the mine workers who were massacred in Marikana.
The union’s president Joseph Mathunjwa said this on Tuesday August 16 as the country remembers the victims who were killed in police shootings in Marikana.
There, Mathunjwa said declaring August 16 a public holiday will help put to mind those affected by the killings at Marikana in 2012 where thirty-four people‚ mostly striking mine workers‚ were shot dead when police opened fire on them.
On that same day, more than 70 mine workers were also wounded‚ and 250 were arrested. The police claimed to be trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week‚ 10 people‚ including policemen and two security guards‚ were killed.
Speaking on this, AMCU president said workers days should not only be moved to this special day, extensive compensation should also be made for the families of those killed.
“If all those things are done then we will close this chapter‚ and we will have a government that listens to its electorate‚” Mathunjwa told thousands of mineworkers and supporters gathered in Marikana to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the 2012 police shootings.
Moreover, Mathunjwa gave himself a pat on the back for securing better wages for mine workers- an achievement which according to him, the ruling ANC and the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) had failed to attain for years.
He said the Marikana massacre was a result of the “alliance between the ANC, South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions”.
“Any political party that wants to form a union will compromise their position … as AMCU we made sure our members are free to join and vote for any political party of their choice … there is no need for a political party to form a trade union,” he said.
He later pointed out that since AMCU became the majority and challenged the status quo, “no worker was still earning less than R7 500”. He added that if it was up to the NUM they would still be taking home around R5 000.
The AMCU president went on to accuse the SA government of doing nothing to help the lives of the victims’ families. He called on President Jacob Zuma to apologize the people and declare August 16 a public holiday”.
This was also echoed by the leader of the Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane who called on the government to speed up the payment of compensation to mine workers and their families.
“Until Jacob Zuma comes here to apologize to the people and pay back the money‚ there will be no freedom in SA‚” he said.
Meanwhile, AMCU had opened a trust fund meant to help families of Marikana victims and build them houses.
The trust fund had R2 million deposited in it and EFF’s Julius Malema yesterday pledged R1 million for the fund, which also received pledges of R50 000 from the DA’s Mmusi Maimane and the UDM’s Bantu Holomisa.