The Democratic Alliance (DA) has hauled the government to the Western Cape high court in a bid to declare the ban on personal care services unconstitutional and invalid.
In a statement on Monday, DA MP Dean Macpherson said Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, had “failed” to respond to the DA’s questions regarding the ban before a 3 June deadline.
He further claimed that Dlamini-Zuma had failed to meet a “self-imposed deadline” of Friday last week to publish guidelines for the personal care industry.
Macpherson said, “The DA therefore has been left with no choice but to take this legal step to save the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered at the hands of this government that does not care about them, and could not be bothered to provide any reasons for their hardship.”
The industry, which includes such services as hairdressing and cosmetology, has remained shut since the lockdown was first implemented in March.
Macpherson said it was “unjustifiable” that most industries can now operate during alert level 3 subject to heath protocols except the personal care industry. He added that the 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.”
“In our papers, we have argued that the blanket prohibition on the entire personal care industry is irrational and arbitrary which is prohibited from operating indefinitely, subject to the whims of some unidentified Minister that should provide ‘directions’ for the industry,” Macpherson stated.
EOHCB wants response by end of Monday
Last week, the Employers Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB) said it had received confirmation from the government that it would finalise the applicable guidelines “by the end of the week” (5 June).
It said the relevant Department was “in the process of drafting the necessary protocols and/or guidelines for the opening of business activities including hairdressing, beauty treatments, makeup, nail salons, piercing and tattoo parlours for the resuming of these business operations.”
However, in a Facebook update on Saturday, EOHCB said it to its “utter dismay, the Department’s self-invoked deadline was not kept.”
“The EOHCB has, as a result, instructed its lawyers to immediately dispatch a letter to the Director-General of the Department, calling for a response by close of business Monday [5 June] to enable the EOHCB to consider its position going forward,” it added.
The organisation did not reveal the identity of the Department it has been in contact with, citing “sensitivity” concerns.
The government is facing a plethora of legal challenges against its regulations. Last week, it said it will appeal a Pretoria high court ruling that declared level 3 and 4 regulations unconstitutional and invalid.