Virginia - Miners have the right to represent themselves in salary talks with mining companies, expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Tuesday.
Speaking to striking miners in the Free State, Malema said unions had become sellouts.
"You have a right to stand on your own."
Malema said the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) had been compromised.
He told the miners the union drew dividends from mines.
"It is now NUM Pty Ltd, a private company."
He urged miners to choose people from their own ranks to represent them at talks with mine bosses.
Malema said senior government and party members had investments in mine companies to protect mine bosses against workers.
He also told them their struggle was his struggle.
A smallish crowd attended the gathering at the Meloding stadium in Virginia.
Many mine workers held placards saying "R16 000 after deductions".