Afrikaner rights group AfriForum and their union partner Solidarity have welcomed Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s decision to suspend the Tourism Equity Fund’s activities until they have had a meeting with her, after complaints that the fund’s criteria were racist.
This came after the two institutions sent an urgent letter to the minister about the fund, which aimed at only funding black-owned tourism businesses.
The institutions complained that all tourism businesses had been hit hard by restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
According to the department, the criteria for eligibility for assistance from the fund includes a requirement that the enterprise must be legally registered in South Africa, 100% owned by South African citizens, and that it be predominantly black managed and controlled by at least 51% black individuals.
The minister said that she was open to a discussion with AfriForum and Solidarity, and in the meantime suspended the fund until she has had a discussion with both institutions.
Solidarity’s head of communication Morné Malan said that since government imposed lockdown measures, the industry has been suffering, and instead of “promoting their racial ideology”, that government should make sure that the fund is assisting all businesses.
“Government has introduced lockdown measures due to Covid-19 and with it, limited trade and the larger economy. This resulted in thousands of businesses, especially in the tourism industry, not being able to generate any income for months on end.
“What government needs to do now, is reach out a hand to these businesses and support them, rather than abusing this opportunity to promote their racial ideology,” said Malan.
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AfriForum head of campaigns Monique Taute also said that they are happy with the minister’s willingness to meet with both organisations.
Taute said that everyone in the tourism industry is in dire need of the assistance, and that government should not use the pandemic to promote its transformation while all parties suffer.
“We welcome the Minister’s willingness to meet with us, and we believe this is a step in the right direction. The government has a responsibility towards all citizens since everyone in the tourism industry is currently in urgent need of help.
“The government cannot use a pandemic as an excuse to promote transformation while all South Africans are suffering,” said Taute.