‘Marikana killings will forever leave a blemish in SA’s young democracy’

The ANC joined the community of Marikana in commemorating the loss of lives during the 2012 mining strikes.

Thousands of miners sing and dance as they wait for Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa to address them as they mark four years since the Marikana massacre 16 August 2016. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) is calling on South Africans to draw lessons about what it says is the importance of peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the workplace on the anniversary of the Marikana killings.

Today marks exactly four years since 34 miners were killed by police, during a wage strike at Lonmin Platinum in Marikana in the North West.

Ten other people were killed in the days prior to the mass shooting on 16 August 2012.

The ANC says the events of that period will forever leave a blemish in South Africa's young democracy.

In a statement released earlier today, the ruling party said it wished to join the community of Marikana in commemorating the tragic loss of lives during the 2012 mining strikes.

"We call on all South Africans to draw lessons from Marikana to ensure that we never experience a similar incident.

"We must never forget that a genuine campaign for workers' rights, including decent working and living conditions, was at the heart of the Marikana conflict. It is for that reason that the ANC calls on all stakeholders to use this occasion to work together and refocus their energies towards bringing lasting stability in the area. This can only be achieved by meaningfully redressing structural inequalities that still persist in the workplace, especially in the mining industry.

It also urged government to partner with the mines to accelerate the programme of revitalising mining towns, which will prioritise housing, access to services and development of local economies.

"We also call on Lonmin to fast-track its transformation and social responsibility agenda to build better living conditions around the mining area. The ANC will continue to work with the Marikana community to build social cohesion; working together we can transform Marikana into a beacon of Hope, in honour of those we lost."

Earlier today, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said Marikina was the home of the party and has vowed to provide housing, water and electricity to community members now that his party's in charge of the ward.

Political and religious leaders descended on the North West platinum mine for a commemoration service.

WATCH: Opposition parties slam ANC at Marikana commemoration