Police’s beard shaving order challenged
THE Nazareth and Muslim judiciary councils have written to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities to compel SAPS to refrain from forcing their Muslim members to shave as that was against their religious beliefs.
Nazareth Judiciary Council Chairperson, Wellington Myeni, has warned police management not to infringe on the constitutional rights of their members.
‘We believe that the commission will rule in our favour, but if not, we will take the matter to the Constitutional Court, because it is clear that our members are subjected to religious discrimination,’ he said.
Myeni said they have joined forces with the Muslim Judiciary Council to fight the issue.
‘We have one police officer working in Empangeni, two in Jozini, five in Durban and one at the KwaMashu Police Station.
‘All these officers are forced to shave their beards, which is against the supreme law of the land.
‘These outdated standing orders were practiced by the apartheid government. SAPS should be transformed and treat every employee equally, regardless of religious beliefs. ‘SAPS should also stop from using this standing order as criteria when they recruit new members,’ said Myeni.
King Cetshwayo Police Cluster spokesperson, Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose, confirmed that the police standing order requires their members to shave and cut their hair for neatness purposes.
‘But those who feel that shaving is against their religious beliefs have a right to apply to be exempted from this standing order,’ he said.
Myeni, however, said almost all their members have tried to apply, but their applications were turned down without valid reasons.
‘Why do we have to apply for something that is unconstitutional?’ he asked.
Chairperson of Nazareth Judiciary Council, Wellington Myeni