FORMAL SALON: A university graduate washes a customer’s hair. Picture: Gallo Images
Hairdresser operating illegally on street pavements in the Johannesburg CBD have come under attack from registered salon owners.
The illegal hairdressers who can be found on almost every corner of Jeppe, Bree, Eloff and other streets are accused of poaching clients from registered hair salons.
The formal salons complained they were losing customers to street hairdressers who could afford to offer their services at much lower rates, sometimes as little as half the price charged by a legal hairdresser.
Hairdresser and salon owner Gugulethu Ndebele said: “We have to pay to register our businesses with the municipality. We pay rent for our shops. We pay for water and we pay for electricity and these people just come and steal our clients.
“They design their advertising boards, hang them on robots and we lose our clients. We want the metro police to help us.”
Another salon owner Kim Kiva said: “What they (illegal hairdressers) are doing is not fair. They charge less. We cannot charge as little because we have to pay rent, salaries and other expenses.”
In response, the illegal hairdressers said they were trying to earn an honest living through hard work. Most of the hairdressers in the trade were said to be from Mozambique.
One of the clients who refused to be named said she did not understand why she had to pay more to get her hair done in a salon when she could have it done cheaper on the streets.
Illegal hairdressers are not only a problem for salon owners but also operate in violation of city by-laws.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Edna Mamonyane yesterday said: “Those people plying their trade on pavements are as guilty as illegal street vendors. We always try to remove them. They say they don’t have jobs and they see opportunity in places where a lot of people pass by.”
Mamonyane said the JMPD encouraged people operating illegal businesses to find spots that were legal and the city could help them in this regard.