Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
1 minute read
23 Sep 2021
11:26 am

Sisulu studying tourism fund judgment after loss over BEE criteria

Narissa Subramoney

She says any decision taken will ultimately be determined by the best interests of SMMEs.

Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Neil McCartney

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will study the judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) delivered on Wednesday.

Sisulu said she would also “consult with the relevant decision-making structures to determine the best way forward on the matter”.

The SCA, sitting in Bloemfontein, ruled that then-minister of tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, had incorrectly applied the law when she allocated relief funds based on Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act requirements.

The SCA also ordered the department to pay the legal fees for the case.

ALSO READ: Tourism fund’s race-based criteria unlawful, says SCA

The Tourism Relief Fund provides emergency funding for small, micro and medium-sized tourism businesses.

Even though the fund had already dried up by August last year, Solidarity and AfriForum challenged the department’s use of B-BBEE criteria as a guide in deciding who gets a slice of the pie.

Solidarity and AfriForum first approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in April 2020 to challenge the criteria.

But the court dismissed the application, saying the use of B-BBEE criteria merely provided Black candidates with a “head start”.

A subsequent bid from Solidarity for direct access to the Constitutional Court to appeal the ruling was also dismissed.

ALSO READ: Solidarity turns to SCA to overturn ‘unlawful’ tourism equity fund

Sisulu emphasised that any decision taken on the way forward would ultimately be determined by the best interests of the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) the fund was meant to support.

“Such a decision will also seek to demonstrate our commitment to the ideals encapsulated in the National Development Plan [NDP] and its aspirations to empower all tourism service providers,” Sisulu said.

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