The civil rights organisation AfriForum demanded in a letter to Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Tourism today that the proposed conditions for relief aimed at companies in the tourism sector, based on race, age, disabilities and gender, be scrapped.
This follows an announcement by Kubayi-Ngubane during a media conference yesterday that applications for financial assistance in the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered according to black empowerment specifications.
The department has published determining measures for distribution of relief, which includes:
- 70% of beneficiaries will be black-owned businesses;
- 50% of beneficiaries will be businesses owned by women;
- 30% of beneficiaries will be businesses owned by young people; and
- 4% of beneficiaries will be businesses owned by persons with disabilities.
According to Kallie Kriel, AfriForum’s CEO, it shouldn’t have to matter who the owners of a company are when deciding which companies need assistance.
“All the companies that are impacted by this pandemic contribute to the economy and create employment – directly or indirectly – in a country where it is desperately needed. Need doesn’t discriminate, and neither should government.”
In its letter, AfriForum also demanded a written assurance from the minister and the department that these conditions would be scrapped. Should the department not comply with this request, AfriForum plans to continue with an urgent application against the minister and the department.
“During this time of crisis, everybody should stand united against our common enemy, COVID-19. It is therefore tragic and immoral that the government continues to promote a race-driven agenda within this context. Aside from the practical assistance currently being delivered by AfriForum’s community structures, government’s preoccupation with race is forcing us to increasingly step up as civil rights watch dog to act in the interest of our members and ensuring that everyone in the country’s rights are protected. The battle for fairness is further hampered by those who are trying to diminish concerns over the government’s racial measures as fake news,” says Kriel.
Click here for the letter.