Ramaphosa pays tribute to workers

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa honoured workers during a May Day rally.

Cyril Ramaphosa at a Workers Day rally in Rustenburg. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called on South Africa to pay tribute to workers for their contribution to building the nation.

Ramaphosa addressed hundreds of people at a May Day rally in Rustenburg earlier.

He said it was important to remember the achievements made by workers since the end of apartheid.

"Workers must get better conditions of employment. Today it's far better than what it was under apartheid. It is therefore a day where the whole nation ought to say thank you to workers."

Earlier, Ramaphosa told hundreds of people that Rustenburg must be declared "National Union of Mineworkers (Num) territory".

The area has been rocked by deadly protests recently, including 2012's Marikana shooting, which left 34 miners dead.

Ramaphosa told the workers not to allow other organisations to divide Num.

He said Num was under attack in Rustenberg.

"We must declare Rustenberg alliance territory. Rustenberg must be restored. This is the home of the African National Congress."

Rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been recruiting members, many from Num, since the violence broke out in Marikana in August.

Ramaphosa said Num would remain the largest union in the country as long as members unite.

Meanwhile, Amcu held its own rally where it paid tribute to the miners who lost their lives during the shooting just a few kilometres away.