The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will demand a monthly pay of R12,500 for mineworkers, its leader said on Friday. “The struggle for a living wage continues. We are demanding R12,500 in gold and platinum sectors,” Joseph Mathunjwa said in Marikana, North West. If the demand was not met his union would call for a strike that would cripple the economy. “The strike will stall the economy of the country to an extent that the government and mining companies will be forced to find a way to meet the demands,” he said at a commemoration marking the first anniversary of the Marikana shootings.
Thirty-four miners were killed on August 16 when police fired on them while trying to disperse and disarm them. Ten people were killed in strike-related violence in the preceding week. “Let there be peace, I hope tonight no one will be killed. You must demonstrate that you are a peaceful people.” He expressed disappointment at the absence of the National Union of Mineworkers from the event, saying it would have afforded them an opportunity to appeal for peace. “They are role players in a peace framework. They have signed the peace pact and if they have peace within themselves they should have been part of this event.” Mathunjwa said the previous Christmas was the most difficult in his life. He recalled that families in Marikana had lost their fathers and their children were unable to spend Christmas with them. He said those workers killed on August 16 had contributed to the struggle for better living wage.