Muslim major wins SANDF headscarf case ... and now Equality Court date looms

2020-01-22 16:19
Major Fatima Isaacs puts her beret over her headscarf after a ruling in her favour (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Major Fatima Isaacs puts her beret over her headscarf after a ruling in her favour (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Although a court ruling allows Major Fatima Isaacs and other Muslim members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to wear headscarves under their berets, a new court challenge against the SANDF's policy is looming.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) indicated that Wednesday's ruling, after the withdrawal of charges against Isaacs, was a partial victory and that the next step was to tackle the defence force's dress code policy in court.

"We are going to the Equality Court [in Cape Town] to challenge the policy as the policy still stands even though they have withdrawn the charges," Isaacs' attorney, Amy-Leigh Payne, said after the brief military court proceedings at the Castle of Good Hope.

"So, at a later stage, if she does not comply with the restrictions, she can be charged again."

Payne said the restrictions were that the headscarf had to be tight, should not cover the ears and had to be plain in colour.

At the time the battle over the headscarf was still playing out, SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said the army was governed by prescripts and dress codes which regulated and dictated how the uniform should be worn.

"The regulatory framework clearly stipulates that no other clothing may be worn with the official uniform which is representative of the SANDF as a military institution, therefore members are expected to conform to that as stipulated."

While Isaacs was not allowed to speak to the media on Wednesday, she emerged from the court with a big smile as she placed her beret over her headscarf.

The SANDF had charged her for "wilful defiance and disobeying a lawful command".

Isaacs has been a member of the armed forces for more than a decade and works as a clinical forensic pathologist at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg.

Read more on:    fatima isaacs  |  cape town  |  sandf
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.