MARIKANA – Mineworkers have not benefited from the country's economic gains, AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Friday.
"No mineworker is being paid a living wage. The living wage has not been realised... workers still live in shacks."
He was speaking on the sidelines of a commemoration marking the first anniversary of the deaths of 44 people during a wage-related strike at Lonmin's Marikana operations outside Rustenburg, North West.
Thirty-four mineworkers were killed when police fired on them on August 16 while attempting to disperse and disarm them. The workers -- armed with spears, pangas, iron rods, and knobkerries -- had gathered on top of a hill. Ten people, including two police officers and security guards, died in the preceding week.
"A year down, nothing has changed. The economy has failed the mineworkers," the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president said.
"We still have a long way to achieve economic freedom."
Mining companies were determined to pay workers "slave wages". He said the event was intended to restore peace and stability in Marikana.
"It is a setback that the National Union of Mineworkers and the government are absent. It could have been an opportunity to advocate for peace and stability."
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said he was not surprised that the ruling party did not attend the event.
"They will have been ashamed because they have done none of the promises they made last year. Nothing has changed since last year," Holomisa said.
The ANC in North West said it would not be part of the event because it was organised by the Marikana Support Group.
"The ANC will only participate in a commemoration organised by government as agreed with families, Lonmin, and trade unions," spokesman Kenny Morolong said.
On Wednesday Lonmin and AMCU signed an agreement recognising the trade union as having majority representation at the company, ousting the NUM, which was affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions.