Barber pays up for not cutting 'ethnic' hair

By Time of article published Mar 30, 2005

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By Bruce Venter

A Centurion barber and his staff have been ordered by Pretoria's Equality Court to undergo training to cut hair characterised as "indigenous" or "ethnic" after he admitted to a policy of turning people of colour away from his salon.

The order comes after Koos du Preez, owner of Mans Haar Salon, refused in 2003 to cut the hair of Jody Kollapen, chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission.

Three other people of colour came forward saying they had been refused a haircut by Du Preez.

At the time, Du Preez said neither he nor his members of staff were trained to cut "coloured people's hair, because it is different to that of whites".

Kollapen subsequently launched a court action in terms of the Equity Act, saying he and the other complainants had been discriminated against on grounds of race.

In making the order on Tuesday, after Kollapen and Du Preez had reached a negotiated settlement, magistrate Sivas Padayachee said the seeds of racism in the country were still rife.

"People can no longer hide behind the facade that apartheid is to blame for an individual's racist actions," he said.

In terms of the agreement, Padayachee also ordered that Du Preez should pay R10 000 in damages to a charity of Kollapen's choice.

Although Du Preez refused to speak to the media, he admitted in papers before court that his actions were racist and discriminatory.

Gideon Scheepers, Du Preez's legal counsel, issued a terse statement on his client's behalf: "An agreement has been decided on and the matter is now settled."

Kollapen said he was pleased that the matter had been resolved amicably and without acrimony.

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