The Hair Industry is in a legal battle to be classed as essential during Lockdown, but got a big no on the first round after four hours in High Court! As if in one voice the Hair Industry have been making the statement: “We are essential”, but the Western Cape High Court Judge Lee Bozalek seems to think differently.
On 27 May 2020, Advocate Carlo Viljoen, acting in a personal and pro bono capacity, stood up in the High Court for the industry. The State opposed the urgent request for the ban on the re-opening of the industry to be lifted. The Court proceedings lasted a gruelling four hours. According to a Court source, one hour alone was spent trying to discredit, not only the case, but also Advocate Viljoen. Judge Lee Bozalek kept on steering the questions and remarks back to the relevance of the case and to COVID-19 related questions.
Advocate Viljoen gave a thorough walk through on each of the 53 points he was using to press the merits of the case. Salons are closing down at an alarming rate. An expert economist, Dawie Roodt, says the industry is facing a 40% collapse within the next few weeks. Emphasis was put on the fact that over a million households is dependent on an income from the industry. Can the economy afford 400,000 more people to be unemployed?
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Jade Delphine Tome, is vocal in her role to create media awareness of the urgency and importance of having the ban lifted and allowing the industry to return to work. Jade has been acting as media representative and working closely with Advocate Coetzee. “It is no longer a question of, oh please can we open and do people’s hair.” says Jade.
The case has however resulted in a tiff between the hair and the beauty industry. Jade explained that the address was made to Court only for the hair industry. Jade believes a precedent could also pave the way for the beauty industry as well, but unfortunately Advocate Viljoen, his wife Yolanda and Jade were verbally attacked from members of the beauty industry.
“This is bigger than a personal vendetta. We are talking about something far more important, which is the livelihood of people needing to work and feed their families” says Jade, stressing the fact that everyone should “pick up the spade and do the work” to get the ban lifted. “… fight it with tooth and nail and fight it out with the judges, not each other” she added.
On 28 May 2020 the case was dismissed, as it is “procedurally defective”. Viljoen explains that he had to make the choice to bring the case against the Minister of Health or the Minister of Corporate Governance. He chose to bring the case against the Minister of Health. The next application will be brought against the Minister of Corporate Governance.
Advocate Viljoen further said that Judge Bozalek seemed to have agreed with the merits of the case and that the merits still stand and that “this was only round one. The war continues.”
The legal team of Victor Online Consultancy will be filing a new application. This time all sectors of the beauty, hair and personal care industry will be included.
“Let’s stand up, let’s pick up our swords and let the good fight continue.”
-Advocate Carlo Viljoen-
With the majority of the personal care industry standing together and the new, improved application, the industry remains hopeful and positive. “We ask that our community now unites, and that there be no more divisive actions or efforts to destroy this process, but that we rather stand together collectively, and win our freedom back!” said Natalie Hill from HBIS Foundation.