Leader of South Africa opposition EFF Julius Malema says he will not accompany President Cyril Ramaphosa on a visit to Marikana where miners were killed during violent strike action in 2012.
Speaking at an EFF breakfast which was attended by political editors and journalists in Johannesburg on Thursday.
When asked if he would agree to join the president when he finally goes to Marikana in the North West, the EFF leader flat out refused.
Ramaphosa has been widely criticised for his role in calling for “concomitant action” in the killing of 34 miners during a protracted strike for better wages in 2012.
The president was supposed to go, along with struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, to meet the community and apologise. However, the liberation hero died last month. The president then asked Malema to go with him in her absence.
“I am not going with Cyril to Marikana. He did not go with me when he went to do the things he did. He must go finish what he started there,” said Malema.
Malema insisted that he was only willing to join Ramaphosa to accompany Madikizela-Mandela, but added that he no longer had a reason to do so, now that she has died.
“I was not accompanying Cyril. I was accompanying the late [Madikizela-Mandela]. [She] is no more,” said Malema.
He also hit out at the president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Joseph Mathunjwa, who recently claimed the EFF was in a marriage of convenience with Ramaphosa.
“He insults us, that we are in a marriage of convenience. I don’t need Mathunjwa to go to Marikana. I went alone,” said the EFF leader.
Malema said he met with Marikana workers without Mathunjwa, including those who were jailed. He said he assisted them to get legal representation and that he and his deputy Floyd Shivambu, before the inception of the EFF, had organised the first memorial service in the small mining area.
“The way AMCU has been treating us, we have taken a decision, we are no longer going to attend their Marikana memorials,” said Malema.
“If he thinks that he can take a platform and insult us like that when he has access to our chair, access to the leadership of the EFF, and say the leadership is in some marriage of convenience with Ramaphosa without asking us what happened,” he said.