Four EFF MPLs were forcefully removed from the Eastern Cape legislature for wearing red overalls during the State of the Province Address (SOPA) by Premier Oscar Mabuyane, on Tuesday.
Outnumbered by the security dressed in black and white, the EFF members were seen fighting to stay in the precinct.
EFF Eastern Cape leader Yazini Tetyane said they had been removed for questioning Speaker Helen Sauls-August on rules regarding dress code.
“She suspended the rules. She indicated we must not raise point of orders. They said we must leave the house and we fought back. The bone of contention is the dress code. The Constitution applies to all provinces; why is this province any different. How can the house follow a rule that bars us from wearing overalls to the house?”
Relentless in his resolve, Tetyane said the party caucus would come dressed in red overalls when they debate the State of the Province Address next week.
Reacting to the incident, former EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi tweeted: “Nothing is more unconstitutional than removing public representatives voted for by hundreds of thousands of people simply because you don’t like how they are dressed. The right to hold public office belongs in Bill of Rights 19.3(a) without it, ours would cease to be a democracy.”
Sauls-August spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha said the rules of the Eastern Cape legislature were clear on dress code. He said in preparation for this years Sopa, all parties were reminded of the rules however the EFF did not attend the meetings.
“They know the rules of the legislature do not allow the dress code. They have to understand that the legislature has its own rules. The decision taken at national assembly does not override the rules of the legislature. As long as we have these rules they will apply.”
The rules which were established during the sixth administration indicating that all MPL’s cannot wear gumboots, shorts, and jeans among others, he said.