A case challenging the government’s ban on hairdressers and personal care services has been postponed to 22 June at the Western Cape high court.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) filed an urgent application earlier this week seeking to declare the ban unconstitutional and invalid.
In a statement on Friday, the DA MP Dean Macpherson said Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had failed to file opposing papers.
Macpherson said the court has given the government a chance to consider lifting the ban during its Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 17 June.
He added, “The court has ordered the Minister to file and go on record if the government does not open the sector on Wednesday.
“The DA sincerely hopes that Cabinet puts the people of the industry first and end their economic suffering. If Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Cabinet do not do so, they would then be forced to provide these reasons under oath.”
In its papers, the DA argued that the ban is “irrational, arbitrary and unreasonable.” It said the industry employs hundreds of thousands of people across South Africa who have now been disadvantaged.
“Almost all other economic activity is permitted to resume under level 3, subject to hygiene protocols. So too are religious gatherings and professional sports. There is no rational basis for the indefinite exclusion of this industry,” the party argued.
Macpherson said Dlamini-Zuma “has shown a callous disregard for the livelihoods of too many South Africans who have lost so much during this lockdown.”
In late May, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel said the government needed to be cautious about lifting the ban because the industry involves a lot of physical contact.
EOHCB also heads to court
On Friday, the Employers Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB) also announced that it had filed urgent papers against the ban at the Pretoria high court.
It said, “The purpose of the application is to review and set aside such parts of the Regulations published on 28 May, 2020 in terms of the Disaster Act that postulates that personal care services, including hairdressing, beauty treatments, make-up and nail salons and piercing and tattoo parlours, be excluded.”
EOHCB cited the President, Dlamini-Zuma, Patel, and Minister of Health among the respondents. The court date has been set for 23 June.
Last week, the organisation expressed hope that the government would publish guidelines for the industry on Friday, 5 June. However, the government missed this “self-invoked” deadline.
Further attempts to engage the relevant department this week bore no fruits, EOHCB said, prompting it to resort to court action.