ban on pants scrapped

Two of the four men accused of stripping an Umlazi woman of her pants in public have apolo- gised for banning women from wearing pants in their neighbourhood.

Two of the four men accused of stripping an Umlazi woman of her pants in public have apolo- gised for banning women from wearing pants in their neighbourhood.

The four, Thulani Cele, Sibusiso Cele, Sitha Nzuza and Wiseman Mzotho, were appearing in Umlazi equality court yesterday on civil charges of infringement of human rights and dignity.

They allegedly stripped Zandile Mpanza in July last year "because they did not approve of women wearing pants".

The respondents live in Umlazi T section, where a ban has been placed on women wearing pants.

Magistrate Louis Radyn said yesterday that the court had been presented with a draft order consented to by both parties.

The order states that the ban on women wearing pants in T section will be removed and no longer adhered to since "such a rule is unconstitutional and unfairly discriminates against women under the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act".

The order also stated that the Umlazi police would convene a community meeting to notify all residents of the court order.

The order stated that the police notify the Commission on Gender Equality on pending or reported cases involving the ban on the wearing of pants.

The fourth clause of the order stated that the first and second respondents (Thulani Cele and Sibusio Cele) had to apologise for the incident.

Such an apology, said Radyn, should be made orally during court proceedings and also in writing.

The order further stated that issues relating to the assault, impairment of dignity and damages be postponed until a date is set.

Radyn said each party would pay their own transport costs during the proceedings.

Mpanza said she was happy with the ruling.

"I'm happy because the ban is going to stop and it's such a relief to me," he said.

The four men will appear again in the Umlazi regional court on June 9 on criminal charges of assault, two counts of malicious damage to property, intimidation and indecent assault.

Hostel councillor Bhekokwakhe Mkhize said they had no objections to the order.

"The court has made a ruling, and everyone has to respect that." he said. "But I must stress that we never had a problem with pants. Only a small section had a problem." -Sapa

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