Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has vowed to fight to end any attempts to frustrate his party members wearing their red overalls and domestic worker uniforms in Parliament and the legislatures.
Malema said the Gauteng provincial legislature’s decision to bar eight of its members from the chamber this week was an “ANC-led” act of provocation.
EFF members in Parliament and the nine provincial legislatures “were nothing” without their red overalls and domestic worker uniforms. They would return to the legislature still wearing them, he said on Thursday.
Legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered the EFF MPLs out of the House on Tuesday during a debate on Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province address, which he gave in Thokoza last week.
There was pandemonium when the MPLs resisted attempts to get them to leave the legislature peacefully, and the authorities called in the SAPS’s Tactical Response Team to remove them.
On Wednesday, EFF members were still banned from participating.
But on Thursday, Malema told the media they would approach the high court to overturn Mekgwe’s decision. He claimed there were no rules to stop his members from attending the legislature sitting in overalls and domestic worker uniforms.
“There are many who wish the EFF away in different platforms of legislatures and Parliament by suppressing its open association with the working class.
“The mindless accusation of the DA and ANC honourables (members) is that these workers’ dress codes are unparliamentary, yet they forget that Nelson Mandela wore shirts without a tie, including in the UN, or that (Mvezo Chief and ANC MP) Mandla Mandela and (former ANC-turned-DA representative) Nosimo Balindlela walked into Parliament barefoot during the fashion parades of the State of the Nation address,” Malema said.
The EFF did not mention when its legal representatives would file papers in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg.
“The sad reality is that the ANC members in the Gauteng legislature think they are better than their national leadership.
“This is because, in the National Assembly, the ANC accepted the overalls and paid attention to the ideological content of debates,”’ he said.
“Yet in Gauteng, which has always felt that it is above its national leadership, they used the explanation of EFF MPLs to try to demonstrate that what defeated the national leadership will not defeat them.
“Their act is consistent with a long-standing attitude of thinking they are exceptional to the rest of the ANC,” Malema added.
He threatened to march to the legislature to demand the reinstatement of the EFF members, saying they were prepared to fight if provoked.
“They must not treat us like kids. They must not push us.”
His party would also challenge the removal of the EFF’s Themba Wele from the Eastern Cape legislature in Bhisho, he said.