Mokhele and Others v. Commander

The applicants were female soldiers who were discharged from the army by the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force on the grounds of pregnancy. The reason listed for the discharge of the applicants was pregnancy and a contravention of the army’s Standing Order No. 2 of 2014, which states that a soldier may not become pregnant during the first five years of service. The High Court stated that case before it was a “challenge to the culture of patriarchy in the military and an assertion of sexual and reproductive rights in military service. What is being contested is the idea that female soldiers are incapable to bear arms and babies at the same time and, on that account, are not fit for military purpose.” The court stated that to allow the dismissal from work on the grounds of pregnancy would amount to discrimination on the basis of sex because pregnancy affects only women. The Standing Order had profound effects on the reproductive rights, freedoms, and careers of female soldiers, and the five-year prohibition period was arbitrary in nature. The court held that the applicants must be reinstated back to their positions and ranks in the Lesotho Defence Force without any loss of benefits.



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