Johannesburg - The wearing of T-shirts displaying the face of Nelson Mandela has been banned in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.
Provincial Speaker Lydia Johnson made the ruling this week after IFP MPLs complained about their ANC counterpart Sboniso Duma wearing a garment with a big face of Mandela on it.
IFP leader in the legislature Blessed Gwala complained to Johnson about Duma’s attire.
“It has been accepted that party regalia and paraphernalia are not permitted in the House. This is to ensure that the dignity of the legislature is observed at all times,” Johnson told MPLs.
She had previously said that in the past, the legislature was not explicit in ensuring that faces of party leaders were not allowed on clothes worn in the building.
“For this reason, I requested that honourable Duma remove the shirt he was wearing this morning and I’m very happy to see he has done so. It is my ruling that all members observe this and that the wearing of attire which depicts faces of leaders is not permitted in the House.
“So thank you very much because we don’t want to see other parties coming tomorrow with other faces. So no faces, and we keep it that way.”
Later Duma, who had changed into an African-style T-shirt, told journalists he saw nothing wrong with wearing the Mandela T-shirt.
“Mandela is not a party politician because he is the former president,” he said.
Gwala said when he saw Duma in Mandela attire, he thought of sending someone to his vehicle to fetch his IFP T-shirt with the face of his leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, but chose to complain to Johnson.
Recently, Gwala caused chaos in Parliament when he distributed IFP badges to his party MPLs to wear in the House. This was after ANC MPL Jomo Sibiya wore a badge with Mandela’s face and ANC colours.
IFP members removed the badges only after the Speaker threatened to have the police throw them out.
“The Speaker had initially denied that Sibiya was wearing an ANC badge,” said Gwala.