Picture: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Hairdressers in court bid to get doors open

By KAILENE PILLAY Time of article published May 19, 2020

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Durban - Make-up artists, beauty therapists and tattoo artists have been excluded from the hairdressing industry’s court application, asking for them to be allowed trade and operate under alert level 4 of the lockdown regulations.

The application by hairstylists will be heard on May 27.

The industry represents approximately 90000 registered hairdressers and about 120000 unregistered hairdressers.

According to the regulations, hairdressers will only be allowed to reopen for business when the lockdown risk adjustment is at level 1.

Some beauty therapists expressed their disappointment that they were not included in this application as the industries overlapped.

However, Jade Delphine Tomé - the hairstylist leading the initiative - said to argue all sectors in one court case could result in a negative outcome.

“I completely understand everyone’s pain, frustration and heartbreak to hear this, and want to assure you that this fight is for all sectors of the hair and beauty industry, but to argue for everyone in one court case could have the entire case thrown out.

“After lengthy discussions with legal experts, it has been strongly advised that the best strategy to win this case is to present one strong argument to get the door opened so that other sectors of the industry can then follow,” she said.

Tomé said arguing the case for the hair industry first was most likely to succeed as “hair and make-up was already permitted and being practised in level 4 under the entertainment sector”.

“This is public knowledge. Fighting this double standard is one of our key arguments,” she said.

According to the court papers filed by attorney Carlo Viljoen at the high court since the start of the lockdown, one million people linked to the hair industry have lost their income and ability to support themselves.

“Many of the people in the industry have by now lost all access to any kind of money in order to survive.

“They are unable to pay their rent or meet their financial commitments and, most urgent of all, they are running dangerously low on the ability to feed themselves and their dependants,” Viljoen said.

The Employers’ Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology and Beauty - which represents the registered hairdressers - said the industry injected about R250billion per year into the South African economy.

The organisation also detailed plans on how the industry would implement strict Covid-19 health protocols, as stringent regulations, where hairdressers and salons have to comply with sanitation and disinfecting protocols, already exist.

Viljoen laid out how hair salons would implement health safety precautions, including clients and stylists wearing masks and face shields, maintaining the social distance between workspaces and allowing a limited number of people in a salon at a time.

South Africans were “mature” people who were able to think for themselves, he added.

“I respectfully submit that measures based on individuals taking responsibility would be much more accommodating to the well-being and best interest of the society as a whole rather than imposing on them draconian imprisonment that is exposing them to financial doom,” Viljoen said.

He stated that the public had the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to make decisions concerning control over their body, which includes the choice of whether they want to take the risk of exposure when interacting with another person.

“The public has a prima facie right to freedom of trade, occupation and profession and sufficient food and water, and social security.

“The dependent children of hairdressers have a prima facie right to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health-care services and social services,” he stated.

Viljoen also argued that the approximately 1million people who depend on the hairdressing industry stand to be severely prejudiced economically by this exclusion, “which will have a bigger ripple effect on the entire South African economy”.

The Mercury 

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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