Baldwin Ndaba, Marianne Merten and Moloko Moloto
Johannesburg - New Gauteng premier David Makhura officially took the reins from Nomvula Mokonyane when he was sworn in on Wednesday morning - but not without some drama courtesy of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
EFF MPLs and representatives arrived at the Gauteng provincial legislature in Joburg in their red overalls - living up to their leader’s promise that EFF MPLs and MPs should be dressed in their work gear to demonstrate their commitment to rolling up their sleeves and serving their constituencies.
But their public display caused delays after legislature security guards received stern instructions from ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa not to allow any EFF members into the legislature wearing party regalia. Legislature rules forbid party regalia.
Makhura was sworn in along with 73 other members of the Gauteng legislature from the ANC and three opposition parties that received enough votes to get a seat.
Of the MPLs who were sworn in, 40 were from the ANC, 23 from the DA, eight from the EFF and one each from the IFP and the Freedom Front Plus.
At about 11.40am the national anthem that symbolises the start of the proceedings was sung in the absence of the EFF members.
However, the arrival of the EFF members at the legislature in their party regalia seemed to be a media stunt because they also had formal clothing with them as one of them was seen to run to his car to fetch his suit.
As the North and South Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo took his seat in the legislature and read out the swearing-in rules to all members, the EFF was still outside.
Having changed to more formal attire, they were later sworn in like other MPLs.
In contrast, their comrades in Parliament had better luck, with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng even cracking a joke about their attire before swearing them in.
“For a minute I thought you were going back to get your hat.
“I was going to say: ‘Please not that one!’” said Chief Justice Mogoeng.
He was referring to Malema, who arrived at the National Assembly at about 10am dressed in red overalls, minus party regalia, gumboots, and a hard hat.
For a few more minutes until the start of proceedings at 10.30am, he smiled, shook hands and greeted people.
And when it was his turn to be sworn in, there was a brief moment of hilarity as he stood alongside several of his MPs before the chief justice - this time, without his hard hat.
Proceedings to swear in the 400 MPs, in groups of 10, got under way after the chief justice walked into the house at about 10.30am to a standing ovation to take his seat in the presiding officer’s chair.
The parliamentary choir sang the national anthem, there was a moment for prayer - and then it was down to business.
The doors of the National Assembly chamber had opened some 30 minutes earlier, and the assembled designated MPs, including ministers, who had gathered to wait in the lobby, were allowed to file in.
The first 10 MPs to be sworn in included ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, the only minister to have served in the cabinet since 1994. Following them were fellow ministers Malusi Gigaba, Fikile Mbalula, Blade Nzimande, also SACP leader, Lindiwe Sisulu and Naledi Pandor. President Jacob Zuma’s name was not called, but he also took the oath.
Baleka Mbete, the incoming Speaker, stood next to Max Sisulu, the Speaker of the previous Parliament, in the second group to take the oath of office.
Lining up in front of the chief justice, and holding the certificate of their oath of office which all had to sign, they pledged the oath and were applauded before they returned to their seats.
The following MECs were sworn in Limpopo:
EDUCATION: Thembi Nwendwamutsu
HEALTH: Ishmael Kgetjepe
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE: Joyce Mashamba
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM: Seaparo Sekoati
PUBLIC WORKS, ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE: Jerry Ndou
TRANSPORT, SAFETY AND LIAISON: Mapula Mokaba
AGRICULTURE: Joy Matshoge
COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE, HUMAN SETTLEMENT AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Makoma Makhurupetje
SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE: Nandi Ndalani
TREASURY: Rudolph Phala