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Pants, ‘Mandela shirts’ banned

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MBABANE –Male and female civil servants have been banned from wearing ‘Mandela shirts’ and pants in the workplace respectively

Evart Madlopha, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, issued the ban in a Memorandum dated September 9, 2009.

He said the imposed ban was with immediate effect and requested all government employees to abide by it. Madlopha stressed that the wearing of pants and slacks by female officers was a gross violation of the government General Orders. Male civil servants have not been spared from the imposed ban.

The PS said male officers had developed the tendency to be clad in African shirts, commonly known as ‘Mandela shirt, as though that was acceptable yet it was in breach of the General Orders. Madlopha, in his MEMO, said defiant civil servants would be barred from performing their duties.

“It has been observed and noted with concern that of late a sizeable number of public servants in some ministries/departments now attend offices and/or duty in casual wear i.e. female officers wear pants, and slacks and male officers wear African shirts commonly known as ‘Mandela shirt’, as though that is acceptable dress code, when in fact it’s a gross violation of General Order A1008,” reads part of the Memo, whose distribution list includes the Secretary to Cabinet (Sandile Ceko), Principal Secretaries and Heads of Department.

Ceko is the head of the Public Service (responsible for all civil servants). PS Madlopha then reminded the civil servants that the wearing of pants, slacks and African shirts was not permissible in government offices.

“Therefore, no officer dressed in the aforementioned items shall be allowed access to government offices or to perform duties,” added the principal secretary. The union for civil servants has threatened their employer with court action - challenging the imposed ban on ‘Mandela shirts’ and pants.

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