MARIKANA, South Africa — South Africa's government and ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said they were staying away from one-year anniversary commemorations on Friday to mark the killings of 34 striking platinum miners shot dead by police.
The decision revealed political splits and tensions still surrounding the so-called "Marikana Massacre," which was the bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Explaining the decision, an ANC spokesman accused a grouping that includes the anti-ANC AMCU miners' union of "hijacking" the memorial event planned at the Lonmin Marikana mine site, which is expected to draw several thousand.
The Marikana support group organizers of the event also include a well-known churchman and lawyer representing the families of the Marikana victims.
"People are taking advantage of a tragedy for their own political benefit," ANC spokesman Ishmael Mnisi told Reuters.
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