UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says the government’s continued absence in Marikana as hundreds of people commemorate the sixth anniversary of the massacre shows it does not care about victims of the tragedy.

Speaking on Thursday as the commemoration rally organised by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) got under way, Holomisa said the least the government could do was check on the residents of Marikana and their living standards.

The annual gathering is held in honour of the 34 Lonmin mine workers who were killed by police during violent protests for wages in 2012.

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said he was attending a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) meeting and would not attend the event. This is despite Ramaphosa saying he intended to visit Marikana, after he took over as head of state.

Meanwhile, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the ANC-led government’s failure to act on recommendations made by the Farlam commission of inquiry has led the party to conclude the ANC was "complicit in the actions that took place here in Marikana".

The government has been criticised for failing to ensure the prosecution of police officers responsible for the murders, including commanders who issued instructions for police to fire live ammunition at the protestors.

"How long must we wait? … If the ANC is not willing to act we must conclude the ANC was complicit in the actions that took place here in Marikana. None of us ever thought the police could be used against our own people. But it seems it will happen again as the ANC has forgotten about the people of SA," Maimane said.

He also emphasised a call made by opposition political parties and civil society organisations that August 16 should be declared a public holiday to mark the significance of the tragedy.

The EFF, which has taken part in the commemorations over the years was notably not in attendance, while the rally attracted a low number of mine workers and Marikana community members when compared to past years.