High-fashion perks up Parliament

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cape Town - There was an array of vibrant colours, elegance, chic and panache on display as the country's fourth democratic parliament convened this morning.

Members of Parliament donned outfits ranging from the trendy to the traditional in what could have been easily mistaken for a fashion show on the steps of the National Assembly.

Members of the media and onlookers jostled for space to catch a glimpse of the public figures as they made their way up the stairs to take up their seats in the first sitting of the House since the 2009 General Elections.

The members, in batches of ten, are currently taking the oath of affirmation in front of Chief Justice Pius Langa in the House.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made her way on to the stairs of Parliament looking lovely in a grey dress. She was surrounded by an entourage of bodyguards.

Jacob Zuma arrived quietly at the National Assembly shortly before it opened. Dressed in a black suite, crisp white shirt and black and yellow striped tie, Mr Zuma made a quiet entrance up the stairs of the National Assembly.

He acknowledged the media who were standing behind the balustrades next to the red carpet with a nod and smile, but did not make a comment.

Shortly afterwards, Deputy President Baleka Mbete in a classic rust-coloured two-piece, emerged at the steps looking jovial. She waived and smiled at the media and greeted them in different languages.

Congress of the People's President Mvume Dandala and his deputy Mbhazima Shilowa, arrived in a jubilant mood. Mr Shilowa, dressed in a yellowish suit and pink shirt, told media that he was excited about the day's proceedings.

"We are making history. It is the first time that Cope is a member of Parliament. We are beginning the journey of reshaping politics in South Africa. We have a vision of what we are going to do and how we are going to handle ourselves," said Mr Shilowa.

Explaining the reason behind the high-fashion for the day, Copes' Second Deputy President Linda Odendaal said: "People should understand that we are dressed in these beautiful clothes as a show of respect for Parliament. We are here on business, and this should also be reflected in the manner we dress."

Former President of the trade union federation Cosatu, Willie Madisha told BuaNews that the opening of the new parliament marked the time when government get back to work again following the 2009 General Elections.

"We are going to serve South Africans. We have been looking forward to this chance to contribute to improving the lives of millions of South Africans."

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, dressed in a navy pin striped suit, shied away from the media as he made his way up the steps of the National Assembly.