Julius Malema, centre, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), arrives at Parliament wearing a hard hat and overall to symbolise the party's stated aim of representing the poor. Picture: Schalk van Zuydam

Pietermaritzburg - Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal Speaker Lydia Johnson has called on new MPLs to respect the legislature by wearing suitable clothing and footwear.

Johnson was making closing remarks during the first sitting of the KZN Legislature where new MPLs were sworn in on Wednesday.

“We need to respect this house and accord it the decorum that it deserves, we cannot come here wearing takkies,” said Johnson.

The sitting also saw the election of the new speaker and premier Senzo Mchunu.

Johnson's reference to takkies was seen as a snub to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPLs who arrived dressed in red overalls and wearing takkies.

EFF MPL Vusi Khoza said they would continue dressing in clothes to “identify with the masses” and they believed that there was nothing wrong with their dress code.

“There is nothing in the rule books that says how we should dress, and therefore we will continue dressing in the way that identifies us with people, look at them (members of the public) they are dressed in takkies and overalls because of their economic condition,” insisted Khoza.

He said that they had not been elected to make the Speaker comfortable but to make a positive impact on the lives of people.

New kids on the block the EFF caused a stir in some other provincial legislatures as well on Wednesday.

According to The Star newspaper red-clad EFF members in Johannesburg caused a delay. This was after Gauteng legislature security guards received instructions from ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa not to allow any EFF members into the legislature wearing party regalia. Legislature rules forbid party regalia.

The MPLs were keeping up with their leader Julius Malema who arrived for his swearing in at the National Assembly in Parliament wearing a red overall and hard hat.

Malema and his colleagues wore red boiler suits or dressed like domestic workers to symbolise their stated aim of representing the poor. - Sapa