- Approximately 1 million South Africans are financially dependant on the R250 billion hairdressing industry
- Staff and salon owners are living from hand to mouth, as they haven't been allowed to operate under lockdown regulations
- Advocate Carlo Viljoen is representing the stakeholders pro bono in an urgent court application for them to become fully operational
According to advocate Carlo Viljoen, many hairdressers are living from hand to mouth and nearly 600 of them are pleading for food supplies.
The Western Cape High Court heard details of how the hairdressing industry is being crippled due to stringent lockdown regulations.
Judge Lee Bozalek presided over the matter and will have to assess Viljoen's bid for the sector to open under lockdown level four.
Briefly.co.za learnt that the sector is worth R250 billion and that 1 million people are financially impacted.
Viljoen argued, "They need to eat, my lord, and people need to have their hair cut."
News 24 reported that Viljoen questioned the rationale behind some of the measures when the death rate is below two percent.
He said, "The cost [to hairdressers] is too high. People need to eat. There are children that need to be fed and go to school. The cost of these measures is too high, compared to the risk. The way we are trying to deal with this doesn't make sense."
Bozalek agreed with Viljoen's argument for the most part, but also questioned whether other industries possibly had even stronger arguments to reopen.
Although many of the measures would be relaxed under level three, Viljoen argued that there was no guarantee that some parts of the country would switch back to level four or even five.
Advocate Adiel Nacerodien, representing the Minister of Health, called for the court to dismiss the application, as a favourable ruling could allow "the floodgates to open" and encourage other industries to follow suit.
Briefly.co.za assessed some of the public sentiment via social media and many seem perplexed that places of worship could reopen, but not hair salons.
Gangastagogo (@gangastagogo) said,
"Parents are "allowed" to DECIDE whether or not they send their kids to school. Yet; Grown up people may not DECIDE whether they prefer to smoke - OR NOT. It's time smokers call for a tax boycott."
Ace Magalema (@AceMagalema) added,
"I am still baffled that we are allowed to into a space of worship with 49 other people we hardly know or don't know at all, but not allowed to visit family who we can vouch for in terms of their Covid response. And I am a church-goer!"
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that the restaurant industry has urged government to allow the serving of sit-down customers during lockdown.
As things stand, only deliveries and collections will be allowed and the industry body warns of massive job losses.
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