ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema was the new star in town as newly elected MPs arrived at parliament for their swearing-in ceremony this morning.
Among those who also arrived early at parliament yesterday was the DA’s rising star, Mmusi Maimane, and ANC veterans such as cabinet ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Blade Nzimande.
But the spotlight fell on Malema, only for him to downplay the fanfare. “There is no excitement, we’re looking forward to work,” he said.
Despite parliament insisting that political party regalia would not be allowed in the chamber, Malema has vowed to don his red overalls and hard hat when the fifth parliament sits for the first time today.
There was a brief awkward moment between Malema and Nzimande. The Higher Education Minister acknowledged the EFF leader with a nod, but was simply ignored by Malema.
But Malema could not turn a blind eye to Sisulu, as the two hugged each other and shared pleasantries after their registration.
Maimane said he was excited at the prospect of being one of 400 “fortunate South Africans” to occupy a seat in the National Assembly.
“I’m interested in the economy and foreign affairs,” Maimane said of the portfolio committees where he would like to represent the DA.
The parliamentary term also marks the beginning of a change of fortune for some of the new entrants in the national legislature.
Apart from their basic salary package of more than R880000 a year, they will also get state accommodation at parliamentary villages scattered around Cape Town.
Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs said MPs were being accommodated for a week in hotels across Cape Town while the Public Works Department was still sorting out all their logistics. – Quinton Mtyala and Aphiwe Deklerk