SANDF hijab case: Interim relief for Muslim major to be announced soon

2019-08-07 14:22
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi addresses the media on the position of the defence force in the matter pertaining to Muslim Major Fatima Isaacs. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi addresses the media on the position of the defence force in the matter pertaining to Muslim Major Fatima Isaacs. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

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Details of interim relief for Muslim South African Defence Force (SANDF) major Fatima Isaacs who is embroiled in a military court battle over her refusal to remove her headscarf (hijab), will be made public soon, according to SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi.

The interim relief is something the SANDF and Military Command Council (MCC) agreed to implement while they revisit the dress code policy.

However, the Muslim Judicial Council first has to be consulted before the details can be made public.

Mgobozi also revealed that Isaacs was still in the SANDF's service but would not be drawn into whether there was a breakdown in relations between her and the SANDF.

"Whatever is decided on will have no bearing on the current court proceedings as courts have their own procedures which they follow," Mgobozi said. 

"Let us not pre-empt the outcomes of the court case. Let us wait for the outcome, and we will take it from there," he said.

In the military court proceedings in Cape Town, Isaacs is accused of "wilful defiance and disobeying a lawful command".

Isaacs appeared in court at the Castle of Good Hope on Wednesday and informed the senior military judge that she had changed her legal representation and would need more time to consult.

Mgobozi Isaacs
Major Fatima Isaacs and Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi in conversation outside the military court in Cape Town on Wednesday. (Kamva Somdyala, News24).

Her legal adviser, Nazeema Mohamed, said they would explore various legal options to take the case further, including the Equality Court and Constitutional Court.

The matter returns to the military court on November 6 and has been set down for two days. 

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