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“Our most valuable resources are our people‚ and this is where we should be investing the bulk of our time‚ effort and money‚” says Maimane.

South Africa’s riches are above the ground and not below it‚ DA leader Mmusi Maimane says. Speaking on Saturday at an event at George Harrison Park in Johannesburg marking Heritage Day‚ Maimane said South Africa’s most valuable resources were its people‚ and that this was where the country should be investing the bulk of its time‚ effort and money.

He said mining was one of the parts of the country’s heritage that bound the nation’s histories and fates together.

“Over the past century‚ our mines have seen some of the most brutal clashes between government and civilians in the history of our country‚ including the tragic events of 16 August 2012 where 34 miners were gunned down by the police at Marikana.

“The wealth of our mines has often come at a huge cost to working class South Africans.

“Nowhere is this more evident than the situation that recently unfolded right here at Langlaagte‚ where a number of illegal miners became trapped underground‚” Maimane said.

This constant contradiction between the success of these mines and the harsh reality of labour exploitation and illegal mining‚ was symbolic of the nation’s shared heritage.

“South Africa needs an honest memorial that fully reflects the story of our mining heritage – the embarrassment of riches‚ and the pain and subjugation.

“But the most important realisation we can have is that all our gold‚ platinum‚ diamonds‚ iron ore and coal are not our country’s most prized resources.

“Because if we learn to unlock the potential of our people‚ we will prepare ourselves for life after mining. We will future-proof our economy‚ and we will enable millions of people to live a life of dignity and value‚” the DA leader added.

He said that under President Jacob Zuma‚ the ANC had turned its back on this resource by neglecting basic education‚ by underfunding higher education and by allowing healthcare to deteriorate.

“But that is about to end. The change that swept through our metros in the August election will sweep through our country in 2019.

“The corrupt will make way for the honest. The selfish will make way for the caring.”