AFRIFORUM & SOLIDARITY LOSE B-BBEE TOURISM FUNDING COURT CASE

The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, welcomes the North Gauteng High Court decision to dismiss the review application by AfriForum and Solidarity on the use of broad-based black economic empowerment as part of the criteria for the R200 million emergency funding for small businesses in the sector affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both these organisations failed to convince the court to set aside B-BBEE as criterion to score in the disbursement of the fund. In fact, the court found “nothing racial or shameful” in our inclusion of B-BBEE in the criteria as the applicants sought to suggest. We have always maintained that the design of our programmes is guided by the principles of fairness and justice. It is, therefore, inconceivable for this particular programme to be discriminatory on the basis of race.

“This is a great victory for the people of South Africa and for economic inclusivity. Finally, this judgment will set the wheels in motion to allow those who applied and qualified, to now start receiving grants. We had temporarily halted the process to allow the matter to be finalised in court. Our people, who are in desperate need of these funds to save their businesses, were subjected to delays by those with little respect for transformation. I am satisfied that the court has reaffirmed our position that even during this crisis, we cannot ignore the fault lines that exist in our society,” said Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

The Tourism Relief Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to Small Micro and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa. Capped at R50 000 per entity, grant funding can be  utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items. The fund is guided by the Tourism Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practices approved by the Minister of Trade and Industries in 2015 (in line with the BBBEE Act No.53 of 2003), and administered in line with the objectives of Economic Transformation , and our vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development.

The Tourism Relief Fund will close on 31 May 2020. Inquiries on the fund can be emailed to callcentre@tourism.gov.za

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