On Wednesday, 16 November 2016, after being kept from attending council for two sittings, EFF councillors had finally attended council wearing their red overalls. The speaker of Mahikeng Local Municipality finally recognised their constitutional right as EFF Councillors to attend their first council on Thursday, 17 November 2016, clad in their red overalls. The EFF in Mahikeng regard this as a victory indeed for the official opposition in Mahikeng Local Municipality. “As EFF we are ready to discharge the people’s mandate by contributing to a vibrant discourse that will positively influence the service delivery agenda in council and provided a comprehensive oversight that service delivery in itself is delivered to the citizens of Mahikeng,” said EFF representative.
It is alleged that this culture of the EFF attending meetings wearing their red overalls will escalate to all municipalities including the Local Municipality of Madibeng. What is the law saying about political party leaders’s uniforms in municipal chambers? A number of political movements have involved their members wearing uniforms, typically as a way of showing their identity in marches and demonstrations. The wearing of political uniforms has tended to be associated with radical political believes, typically at the far-right or far-left of politics, and can be used to imply a paramilitary type of organization. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) a self-declared Marxist-Leninist political party that has formed in opposition to the dominant African National Congress (ANC), and adopted red overalls as its uniform brought a new style of attire in parliament and in legislatures, now municipalities.
The EFF’s overalls are, in and of themselves, a radical political statement. According to party rhetoric, the jumpsuits are meant to express solidarity with the country’s domestic workers and manual labourers. Their red color represents a connection not only to communist parties past, but also to the blood of labourers, including 34 platinum miners who were massacred by police in Marikana in 2012, at the very site where the EFF announced its formation one year ago. Is there any rule that orders political leaders to wear a certain uniform for specific meetings? What is the impact on political leaders? Should all political leaders wore their political rigalias during council meetings?