28 January 2021
LRC withdraws Equality Court challenge against South African National Defence Force
CAPE TOWN — The Legal Resources Centre has filed a Notice of Withdrawal in the Equality Court in the Isaacs v Minister of Defence and Military Veterans matter.
In 2019 the LRC took on the case of Major Fatima Isaacs, a Muslim woman serving in the South African National Defence Force. Major Isaacs wears a headscarf under her military beret and in June 2018, was informed that her wearing of a headscarf was not in compliance with the Military Religious Dress Policy and as such, she would have to remove her headscarf. Major lsaacs refused to comply and was subsequently charged with three counts of contravening section 19(1) of the Military Discipline Code: disobeying lawful commands or orders and given a final warning. Following the LRC’s representations on behalf of Major Isaacs in the matter, the Military court withdrew its charges against the Major in January 2020. We filed papers in the Equality Court to challenge the Military’s Religious Dress Code Policy, which was still being enforced.
We have since been engaged in discussions with the SANDF; the Military Religious Dress Code Policy has been updated to allow Muslim women to wear headscarves with their military uniform. As a result, we filed a Notice of Withdrawal with the Equality Court and will not be pursuing this matter further as the policy no longer discriminates against Muslim women in the military.
Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
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