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South Africa Court Rules Race-Based Tourism Fund Criteria Unlawful

Passengers queue at the check-in area inside the departures terminal at Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Travel and tourism contributed 7% to South Africa's gross domestic product in pre-pandemic times, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

South Africa’s appeals court ruled the Department of Tourism’s focus on only Black businesses for payouts to help the industry overcome the coronavirus pandemic is unlawful.

By Rene Vollgraaff
Sep 22, 2021, 1:20 PM
Word Count: 151

The Bloemfontein-based court said the minister of tourism committed an error and is not legally obliged to allocate funds based on Black economic empowerment requirements.

Labor union Solidarity and civil-rights group AfriForum, which often speak out against the government’s race-based redistribution policies and land reform plans aimed at reducing the dominance of White ownership, earlier successfully applied for a freeze on the Tourism Equity Fund because it only focused on Black businesses.

The 1.2 billion rand ($81.2 million), which was set up by the government to assist the industry, was particularly hard hit during the Covid-19 pandemic as border closures and travel restrictions prevent the usual flow of holidaymakers from Europe and elsewhere.

Read more: S. Africa Blocked From Making Payouts With Tourism Fund: Fin24

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  • Clifton Coetzee says:

    SA government is bereft of any intellect. Not one in the cabinet has even a rudimentary understanding of our law. A truly pathetic bunch.

  • Phil Evans says:

    It would be interesting to see how much of the R1.2bn allocated is left and how what has been paid out was paid out. I’m guessing a fair bit has been spent on “Management”.

  • Tony Reilly says:

    Hopefully the new Minister of Tourism will get on with the job of distributing the funds promptly, on merit and in a transparent manner.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    The assistance provided by the fund was not merely restricted to BBBEE compliant tourism businesses. All small and micro-businesses including sole proprietors, with an annual turnover of less than R10m, are automatically BBBEE compliant. I know of a case where a sole proprietor, in the international tourism sector, applied for assistance, and despite the turnover being way below the R10m threshold, was told, “You do not qualify because you are white.” The fact that the business (in the absence of Covid) results in significant foreign earnings, and the employment of numerous mostly black people, was probably far too complicated for the Department of Tourism to understand. Should individuals like this emigrate, as is happening, our tourism numbers will take longer to recover. So who suffers? The employees in airports, hotels, game lodges, bars and restaurants (and all the businesses supplying them.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the majority of these will not be white. The white individuals who were discriminated against, merely change countries to where they are no longer disadvantaged, contribute to those economies, and our economy continues its downward spiral. The only rising factor is our unemployment rate. Governing requires competence and a limited understanding of these linkages.

  • Sam Joubs says:

    The Minister of Tourism did not commit an error. The Minister of Tourism is an error.

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