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IN QUOTES | Dali Mpofu wants Workers' Day to be moved to August to remember Marikana Massacre

17 August 2021 - 09:43 By cebelihle bhengu
Advocate Dali Mpofu wants Workers' Day moved from May to August.
Advocate Dali Mpofu wants Workers' Day moved from May to August.
Image: File photo

Advocate Dali Mpofu has become the latest person to call for August 16 to be declared a public holiday to remember the Marikana mineworkers killed in 2012. He was speaking on Monday at an event commemorating the massacre. 

The SABC reported earlier this year that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) urged its workers to celebrate Workers' Day in August to commemorate the massacre.

Mpofu said South Africans must fight against forgetting what he called a deliberate massacre of the mineworkers because they were "poor, black and wanted a living wage".

Here are five telling quotes from his address: 

Declare August 16 worker's day

“Workers' Day of SA should be on August 16. That public holiday should replace May 1 because for the workers it doesn't matter whether they are recognised in May or November, as long as there is the day that recognises the workers.”

All lives lost in Marikana matter 

“Every life is important. We recognise the massacre, which happened on August 16. The other comrades who fell also fell, but not as a result of the massacre of 16 August. Just as in the 60s, there were people who were victims of apartheid but we recognise the Sharpeville massacre because it happened on that day.”

A deliberate massacre 

“We're not talking about legal justice. This matter is more about economic justice and not the justice you get in court. That justice has not been addressed. This was a massacre, a deliberate massacre of people because they are poor, black and wanted a living wage.”

Battle against forgetting 

“Language is important ... the other people who were killed a few weeks ago, we're told they're looters. The language used is to make sure that you must not have any sympathy with them. The people who have looted our land for 400 years are not called looters. Those people are not looters, they are driven by hunger, the same as the people who died in Marikana.”

Marikana workers were organised 

“They sent delegations to speak to police generals, reached agreements to protect their members. They knew which leaders to listen to and which ones to reject. After they were arrested they gave lawyers proper instructions on what to do. They gave evidence at the commission ... The police went for seven days to rehearse lies as to what they must say to cover each other.”