Only heaven knows the expression on the faces of Parliament Members the very first day the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs walked into the National Assembly. Perhaps, other honourable members must have expected the new red beret party members (who made their first appearance in 2014) to march into Parliament in glimmering suits. I guess their expectations failed them, seeing the new MPs all dressed in red overalls, hard caps and gumboots.
And while the red beret party pushed on in and outside Parliament, many marveled at their verbal prowess, especially that of the party leader, Malema Julius. But, one question that kept many puzzled was why the EFF chose to appear in Parliamentary sittings in red overalls and beret.
Last month, the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) moved to stop the ‘informal Parliamentary regalia’. According to ANC’s Richard Mdakane, MPs ought to dress in a manner befitting the decorum of both houses, he however added that the decision is not targeted at any party.
Following the move, the EFF asserted that the ANC’s proposal for a strict dress code for MPs was an insult to the intelligence of lawmakers. The party maintained that parliamentarians should be allowed to decide the appropriate dress to wear because MPs are not ‘kindergarten kids.’
However, the fighters’ party leader has finally opened up on why they wear red overalls to Parliament. According to Malema, the red berets and manual labourers coveralls depict revolutionary politics. He said;
“We wear overalls because parliament to us is a work place.”
He also added another word – sleepists – to South Africa’s list of anti-Zuma word bank. Malema told supporters at the party’s manifesto:
“Parliament is no longer a sleeping place. All sleepists now are awake. Even Zuma used to sleep in parliament. Today the old man is awake.”
Malema Praises The Red Beret Party
“We’re doing better than all political parties in Parliament. The 25 EFF MPs sound like they are 250. We found them in parliament complaining about Nkandla. We said to you that we’ll stop the Nkandla corruption. We stopped it. We’re shaking parliament. We’re converting that parliament into parliament of the people of SA… We want parliament to reflect Marikana and Mothutlung.”
He also thanked the one million people who voted the EFF into Parliament.
The red beret party leader was the man who coined the words “tjatjarag” and “Zupta” in South Africa.