“The EFF does not agree that there should be a dress code prescription that seeks to ban the working class clothes worn by the EFF in Parliament,” acting spokesman Lehlohonolo Fana Mokoena said in a statement.
“We will never co-operate with any rule that dictates on how we should dress as members of Parliament and will do anything in our power to prevent such a rule from being approved and enforced.”
Mokoena’s comments stem from the ANC’s vow on Wednesday to ban the EFF from wearing workers’ garb in Parliament, saying this was not only indecorous but also that their hard hats could be used as dangerous projectiles.
“They are dangerous, they are weapons,” African National Congress deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude told a multi-party sub-committee making proposals for the revision of parliamentary rules.
It adopted a proposal, despite bitter objection from EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, to prohibit the red workers’ overalls and pinafores EFF MPs have worn in the House along with shorts, jeans, and takkies.
The proposals would be forwarded to the full rules committee for adoption in coming weeks.
ANC MP Nyami Booi rejected the EFF’s argument that they were given a mandate by some 1.5 million voters to wear clothes representing the working class in the legislature.
Shivambu warned that the EFF would defy the ban, and challenge it in court if necessary.
He told Sapa the party planned to attend the opening of Parliament in a fortnight in red overalls and domestic workers’ attire.
Sub-committee chairman Richard Mdakane sought to give assurances that the dress code was not aimed specifically at the EFF because it had been in the pipeline since early 2013, before the party’s formation.
Dlakude underlined this, telling the meeting: “The real reason that we deal with this issue of dress code is that what is happening in this new Parliament never happened… Even criminals, murderers, rapists, when they appear in court they are well dressed.”
Mdakane said the dress rules would be slotted into the first nine chapters of the proposed revised rules to be adopted soon, before MPs deal with the rest of the rule book.
Shivambu said he found this illogical and suspect.
“They are hurrying for something,” he said.