COSATU strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the rogue behaviour of the leadership of the SANDF and their unconstitutional attempts to fire Major Fatima Isaacs, from the Military Health Service, for wearing the traditional Muslim scarf, the hijab.
Major Isaacs has served the SANDF for 10 years without the incident, yet the SANDF now wants to dismiss her for being a Muslim woman and wearing a hijab.
Whilst the rest of South Africa is celebrating 25 years of constitutional democracy, clearly, the leadership of the SANDF wishes it was 1948 or the era of the crusades. The SANDF is violating Major Isaacs’ inalienable constitutional rights to religious freedom. Part of expressing her religious views and culture is her right to wear a hijab. This is a constitutional right that applies across all, it does not need the approval of an army General.
The additional danger of allowing the SANDF leadership to impose some draconian modern-day anti-Islamophobic Spanish Inquisition is that it will isolate and prohibit many people to participate in the economy because of their religious beliefs. South Africa is a modern, constitutional democracy where discrimination based upon religion or gender is illegal.
The Minister of Defence indicated in her recent budget vote that she had requested the Chief of the SANDF to resolve this matter; the fact that this matter is now before the court and Major Isaacs’ career and constitutional rights are threatened is a shameful indictment upon the Minister and Chief of the SANDF. The President of the Republic must instruct them to drop this case with immediate effect and to apologise to Major Isaacs for their shocking behaviour.
Otherwise, Major Isaacs must take this matter to the Constitutional Court because COSATU is confident that these idiots will be excoriated and given a lecture by the court and it will remind them that the SANDF is not a medieval horse-militia that embraces antiquated and anachronistic methods.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794