Mineworkers in the platinum belt should intensify their strike, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said on Tuesday. “This is the longest strike since 1984. We are proud of you. We are not ashamed to be associated with you,” Malema said in Rustenburg, North West.
“The strike must continue. We support Amcu in the fight for a better wage. It is the only union crippling the capitalists.” He was in Rustenburg in an attempt to garner last-minute votes for his party at Wednesday’s general election.
Malema told a crowd of about 5 000 supporters in Freedom Park that when they voted they should remember the mineworkers killed in Marikana in 2012. “Remember the orphans of Marikana. Tomorrow remember the mineworkers who died fighting for a better wage.”
Forty-four people were killed in August 2012 during a violent wage strike at Lonmin’s mine at Marikana. Thirty-four died on August 16 when police opened fire on them. Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Impala Platinum, Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum have been on strike since January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12 500 a month.
Malema said the ANC had never gone to Marikana to apologise to the spirits of the slain workers.
“Tomorrow you will see Jacob Zuma in the ballot paper. Tell him he did not come to you after the police killed your brothers and fathers. Tell him he will not get your vote.” When the ANC spoke of providing houses, voters should tell them they only built modern shacks. “Your proper house is coming. Give us only five [years] to deliver. If we fail, kick us out.”
He urged strikers not to boycott the election. “If you do not vote you help the ANC to remain in power. Even when you are on strike, tomorrow you work for yourself … tomorrow is a day to bring changes.”
Supporters sang and followed Malema to the area near Marikana where the 44 people were killed in 2012. He concluded his campaign at the local taxi rank at 5pm. – Sapa