The much awaited legal showdown between the DA and co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over the closure of hair and beauty salons was off to a false start on Friday.
Lawyers for the parties thrashed out the logistics for the better part of the morning.
MP Dean Macpherson, the DA’s spokesperson for trade and industry, said the matter had been postponed to June 22 before a full bench of the high court in Cape Town.
He blamed Dlamini-Zuma for the delay.
“The judge asked us late yesterday to try to find an agreement on timelines going forward with minister Dlamini-Zuma with regards to the reopening of the industry,” said Macpherson.
“We agreed to do so in good faith and we believed that we could get an order from the court that would make it very clear and explicit what the timelines going forward would be. The minister just until a few moments ago had instructed her counsel that they would not agree to anything like that and so the judge has now postponed the matter to June 22, to be heard before a full bench.
“What also complicated matters is that the minister refused to file any opposing papers in our application and missed the original deadline and she has now been granted an extension to June 18 to file opposing papers.”
Macpherson said the DA went to court to protect the livelihoods of “hundreds of thousands of people” in the personal care industry.
“Minister Dlamini-Zuma … has been cavalier with the livelihoods of those people across the country,” he said. “The minister has (shown) disdain for people’s rights to earn an income and keep a roof over their heads and put food on their table. That is why the DA brought this application in the first instance,” he said.
Macpherson said the minister’s “contempt for this process” and to comply with deadlines and her own deadlines was a “very sorry state of affairs”.