MPs dressed to the nines

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cape Town - From cutting edge designs to traditional wear, Members of Parliament (MPs) have once again lived up to the high expectations around dressing up for the opening of Parliament and the State of the Nation Address.

With the South African Navy band already serenading guests who were streaming in, all eyes were on the outrageous and sometimes over-the-top fashion that always graces the red carpet.

Western Cape Premier and leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Helen Zille arrived on the red carpet in a red dress with blue and white stripes that matched her handbag. She was styled by De Villiers Coutier.

Zille said the outfit had been inspired by the rainbow nation and the South African flag. To accessorise her outfit, she sported a neck piece of a map of Africa with an elephant.

"I've always loved bright colours and this year I decided to come up with a mixed bag of colours that represent what South Africa is - a rainbow nation," said Zille, before articulating what she expected from Zuma's address.

"What we want to hear from the President is how the President is planning to address the issue of crime and unemployment. We are tired of rhetoric and empty promises. Zuma needs to be specific and put time frames on how his government plans to achieve the promised 500 000 jobs," said Zille.

African People's Convention leader and chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), Themba Godi, echoed Zille's sentiments that the time had come for the President to give a clear indication of how the government planned to address unemployment and a "deteriorating" health system.

"We need to see these strategies that we've been hearing about implemented. That is what Madiba would have loved," said Godi.

Congress of the People's Dennis Bloom's black and white Madiba-inspired shirt caught the attention of the crowds.

Bloom said he decided to go for a something that would mark the attendance of the former president. The outfit was designed by a Mali-based designer who has been designing for the Bloom family for the past ten years.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, who dressed down this year in a red dress, paired with a gold floral jacket, said she hoped the President's address would focus on implementation of programmes of action. She said she was concerned about unemployment and hoped the President would focus on job creation.

The man of the moment, Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, were expected to arrive just after 6pm.