Local hairdressers (and their clients) are waiting with bated breath after the Democratic Alliance (DA) filed urgent papers in the Western Cape High Court on Monday, 8 June, to have the ban and criminalisation of “personal care” services, which includes hairdressers, declared invalid and unconstitutional.

This follows after the DA gave Minister Dlamini-Zuma a deadline of 14:00 on 3 June 2020 to provide reasons for the ban, and she failed to do so. “The Minister has also failed to meet a self-imposed deadline to publish regulations for the industry as she had promised, by 5 June 2020,” the DA said.

Local hairdressers said this week that their businesses’ future depends on the current court cases to lift the ban.

“We are holding thumbs, but if something does not drastically change by the end of the week, I will have to start working illegally,” a hairdresser said to Kormorant. “I am actually a person who believes in the law and that it is necessary, but it has now come to a point where my business will not survive and the people depending on me, will not have jobs.”

“Another hairdresser told Kormorant that he was seriously contemplating working illegally. I am thinking of doing house calls, or bribing my neighbours with haircuts, so I can start working from home again. To be honest, I have done a few of those. I can no longer pay the rent for my shop and we have not received UIF yet. One has to do what one has to do to put food on the table.”

Yet another hairdresser admitted that she has been working on the sly for the past two weeks. “All the people working for me, are dependent on me. I cannot pay rent and the UIF only paid out about 30% of salaries. We all have children to feed and rent to pay. It all comes down to being able to eat and keep a roof over your head.

However, all the hairdressers Kormorant has spoken to are very worried about the implications should they get caught doing work during level 3. “We have had cases where a woman would contact hairdressers and arrange to have her hair done and then arrive with law enforcement. It is sickening,” a hairdresser said. “It is an extremely difficult situation. If the situation continues, we will all be forced to work illegally or close our doors. It is as simple as that.”

The DA said it has been left with no choice but to take this legal step to save the livelihoods of thousands of people in the personal care industry. “It is simply unjustifiable that almost every other industry is allowed to operate subject to health protocols, except the personal care industry.”

The DA further believes that the Ministers indefinite “ban” violates section 22 of the Constitution which allows citizens the right to practice their trade, occupation or profession freely which may be regulated by law.

“Closing this industry does not stop people getting haircuts, piercings or tattoos. It stops people keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table. After more than two months of lockdown, any continued prohibition would require the most compelling justification. We believe there simply is none,” the DA said.

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