Hairdressers lose court bid to return to work during lockdown

An urgent court bid by financially distressed hairdressers to be allowed to go back to work was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Advocate Carlo Viljoen brought an application on behalf of hundreds of hairdressers who were wiped out financially due to the current ban on hairdressing under Level 4.

This after the Employers Organisation for Hairdressing Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB) put together a petition to reopen salons, but the government did not budge.

The court blow came around the same time as a government announcement that hairdressing would be among the personal care services that will remain closed.

They include beauty services and tattoo parlours. 


In the application heard on Wednesday, Viljoen told the court hair professionals trained for three years, saying much of this included training in “proper sanitation”.

He said he was thus convinced hair professionals were capable of and ready to implement proper safety and hygiene protocols if they were permitted to operate legally.

“They need to eat… and people need to have their hair cut,” Viljoen told the court.

The alternative to legal trade, he warned, was an “uncontrolled black market”.

Viljoen said the court loss was only round one, and he would continue to challenge for the reopening, according to a video published by EWN.

Dire need

Sam Hill, who co-founded the Hair & Beauty Industry Support Foundation, told News24 it was supporting more than 1 400 people countrywide who are in dire need in the hair, make-up, beauty and massage industry, adding it was receiving more applications for help every day. 

“At the moment, we are feeding people and providing food and essentials, networking with legal professionals for legal assistance for rental and UIF payments, as well as providing mental health links to professionals,” said Hill who co-founded the foundation with wife, Natalie.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted the rules on Thursday ahead of a media address.

At the briefing on Thursday, she said it was impossible to maintain the required 1.5m spacing from a client in these services.