We should all wear uniforms in Parliament, MP jokes

2015-10-30 16:29
(<a href= ‘https://twitter.com/RanjeniM’>Ranjeni Munusamy</a> via Twitter)

(Ranjeni Munusamy via Twitter)

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Cape Town - Uniforms for parliamentarians might very well be the quick-fix for a House deeply divided over proposed dress codes, one MP jokingly suggested in Parliament on Friday.

But the comment, though spoken in jest, again highlighted the deadlock, where almost a year after the rules sub-committee started reviewing Parliament’s rules regarding dress codes, the matter was still a big bone of contention.

The committee had been trying to find common ground in defining proper attire for Parliament, and on Friday, the MPs could not agree on whether they should dress according to personal taste, provided the outfit was dignified.

While African National Congress MPs called for “according to personal taste” to be removed from the draft rules, Economic Freedom Fighters MP Sam Matiase argued that taking that part out would interfere with freedom of choice.

The EFF has repeatedly claimed the dress code discussions are targeted at them for wearing their vivid red overalls or typical domestic workers' attire to Parliament.

"Dressing according to personal taste has been part of the rules of Parliament for the past 20 years, why is it offending now? Any attempt to move it will violate our constitutional right of freedom of choice."

The recommendations and guidelines include formal business attire, traditional attire and variations of smart attire, including Madiba shirts.

After 30 minutes of deliberations on a dress code, ANC MP Lemias Mashile jokingly suggested the introduction of uniforms as a compromise.

But this did not sit well with the EFF.

"To prescribe a form of uniform like we are primary school kids would be unlawful and unconstitutional," Matiase said, even as MPs told him it was merely a joke.

The committee will take three options on a dress code to the full rules committee, and it will make the final decision.

The sub-committee is reviewing rules that include the dress code, guidelines to removal of a president and the introduction of a disciplinary committee for errant MPs.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  cape town  |  parliament 2015

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