Pretoria - The bizarre saga of two metro police recruits and their preferred hairstyles is back in court. The trainees will know on Friday whether they will be able to return to the training academy for the second time, after earlier obtaining a court order directing the Tshwane Metro Council to immediately allow them back.
Suzanne Terry and Elizna von Mollendorff earlier this month turned to the North Gauteng High Court after being dismissed from the training college because they refused to cut their hair short.
They said they were required to cut their hair “as short as that of a man”.
When they refused, their instructor took matters into her own hands on the parade ground and cut their hair herself. In the process she cut one of the trainee’s fingers.
The two were dismissed five months after the incident for failing to abide by an instruction.
Judge Louis Visser ruled that they should return to the training college after he rejected the opposing affidavit from the council for being filed too late.
The council at the time asked for a postponement, saying it did not have enough time to prepare.
The judge refused and said the two had to resume their training as soon as possible.
The order was made without hearing the council’s side of the story. The judge said the council knew about the urgent application, yet had chosen not to defend the matter in time.
Terry and Von Mollendorff reported for training the day after judgment was delivered, but this was short-lived. They were back for three days before being kicked out again.
They again turned to court this week, asking Judge Sulet Potterill to hold the council in contempt of court.
The council said it was within its rights, as it was applying for an order to have Judge Visser’s verdict reviewed. The reason for this was because the judge had made a finding without hearing its side of the story, the council said.
Judge Potterill was told that as the council had applied to have the earlier order overturned, it meant that the effect of that order (allowing the two to return) was suspended. But counsel for the trainees did not agree and said these were review not appeal procedures, which did not mean that the original order was on ice pending the appeal outcome.
Terry and Von Mollendorff are eager to resume their training as soon as possible to avoid falling behind.