Fatima Isaacs, a major in the SANDF was officially charged with “wilful defiance and disobeying a lawful command” over wearing a headscarf. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Just under a month before her scheduled date in front of a military court on August 7, Fatima Isaacs, a major in the SANDF, on Wednesday received the official charges against her from a military prosecutor.

Charged with “wilful defiance and disobeying a lawful command” over wearing a headscarf, Isaacs appeared before the military prosecutor at the Court of Military Justice (CMJ) at the Castle of Good Hope, accompanied by her legal team: advocates Igshaan Higgins, an expert on Muslim personal law and his colleague Roseline Nyman.

The CMJ has powers akin to the high court competencies.

Labour law specialist Nazeema Mohamed, who also accompanied Isaacs said: “Today wasn’t a court appearance in the sense of judges and lawyers arguing their case, it was just a military prosecutor and our legal team exchanging documents. It took 15 to 20 minutes. The actual case itself will be on August 7.”

On Wednesday at the court there was a strong media presence and Isaacs’s family were also in attendance. However, instructions from military officials saw the media and other observers barred .

According to Mohamed, Higgins said the case was a poor reflection on the country’s Constitution and hard- won democracy.

Earlier this month, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it would be taking the SANDF to the SA Human Rights Commission after the army banned Isaacs from wearing her scarf at work. MJC secretary-general Shaykh Isgaak Taliep said: “The organisation will do all in its power to assist MajorIsaacs.”

Isaacs is a clinical forensic pathologist at 2 Military Hospital.

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Cape Argus