AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
29 Jan 2021
12:33 pm

SANDF allows hijab as part of army uniform

AFP

In January last year, a military court dropped charges against an officer who had been indicted for wearing a hijab under her military beret.

A member of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is seen during a patrol, 23 April 2020, at Bara Taxi Rank in Soweto, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The SANDF worked alongside the Johannesburg Metro Police and the South African Police Service. Picture: Michel Bega

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has amended its dress policy to allow Muslim women to wear headscarves as part of their uniform, an army spokesperson said Thursday.

In January last year, a military court dropped charges against an officer who had been indicted for wearing a hijab under her military beret.

Major Fatima Isaacs had been criminally charged in June 2018 with wilful defiance and failing to obey lawful instructions after her superior asked her to remove her headscarf when in uniform.

ALSO READ: Muslim major wins SANDF headscarf case

A military court at the Castle of Good Hope near Cape Town withdrew all charges in January 2020, allowing Isaacs to exceptionally wear a tight black headwrap on duty as long as it did not cover her ears.

But the military did not amend its dress policy, prompting Isaacs to mount a challenge in South Africa’s equality court over regulations restricting religious wear.

The SANDF eventually agreed to amend its policy this week and allow all Muslim women to cover their heads while on duty.

“The SANDF dress regulation was updated to allow the wearing of headscarves by Muslim (women) according to stipulations in the dress regulations,” spokesman Mafi Mgobozi told AFP via WhatsApp on Thursday.

The South Africa-based Legal Resources Centre, which represented Isaacs, welcomed the decision via Twitter on Wednesday and said it was withdrawing the equality court case.

ALSO NEXT: SANDF blows R51 million in irregular expenditure 

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.