Po­lice’s beard shav­ing or­der chal­lenged

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Muzi Zin­c­ume

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

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