Health Minister must explain ban on headscarves for nurses

The DA will submit written parliamentary questions to the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, regarding his Department’s proposed ban on headscarves for nurses at public health institutions. The DA has received numerous complaints regarding the proposed amendments to the nurses’ dress code that seemingly discriminate against Muslim nurses’ Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The Minister needs to explain why headscarves would only be banned for nurses and not other medical professionals; provide the record of decision for the ban; and the specific scientific evidence the decision is based on.

These dress code amendments would discourage Muslim people from pursuing nursing as a career. While the DA applauds every effort to stem infections and acknowledges the importance of clean and practical nursing uniforms, we do believe that decisions should be made in consultation with the affected groups and that an amicable solution should be found that does not infringe on Constitutional rights.