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AfriForum, Solidarity approach ConCourt to challenge BEE tourism relief criteria

2 May 2020 1:04 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
AfriForum
Solidarity
tourism sector
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi Ngubane
Covid-19 relief

The North Gauteng High Court has ruled against the bid to challenge tourism minister's decision to apply BBBEE to Disaster Act.

South Africa's tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and will likely be one of the last to recover.

The North Gauteng High Court this week ruled against Lobby group AfriForum and trade union movement Solidarity, who were challenging the decision by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to apply broad-based BEE (B-BBEE) codes when providing relief to distressed businesses in the tourism sector.

RELATED: 'My worst nightmare is to wake up with tourism sector that looks like pre-1994'

Kubayi-Ngubane came under fire from some quarters who said that BEE considerations would disqualify many from accessing the R200-million in emergency funding earmarked for tourism companies.

AfriForum and Solidarity are now approaching the Constitutional Court with their challenge, on an urgent basis.

Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann says the pandemic is a crisis for everyone in the travel and tourism industry and decisions about financial relief cannot be made on the basis of race.

We're saying that a disastrous situation like this where everyone is actually affected, there we must help on the basis of your need and not the basis of your skin.

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

We think the judge [Jody} Kollapen did not take into account this specific situation that we are in. The fact of the matter is that the regulations were promulgated according to the Disaster Management Act and that already showed that it is a disastrous situation in which these specific regulations are applied...

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

... therefore we believe in this kind of situation there can't be moral or legal justification for that, so we've decided to get legal clarity on that especially from the Constitutional side... We want to see whether the Constitution can justify granting relief on the basis of race in this specific situation.

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

Hermann points out that in terms of the restrictions that apply, the smaller companies that were exempt from BEE regulations pre-pandemic, are particularly disadvantaged.

So it's actually a bit absurd that you are excluded in normal circumstances because of your turnover, but in this circumstance you must jump over the race hurdle.

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

The fact of the matter is, if you take that specific part of the industry and you look at the black owners, then you will see only 7% of companies will receive help. 93% are either bigger than the R5-million turnover or they are white, or, the most excluded here are the smaller, informal agencies... and most of them are black owners.

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

We did not focus so much on the employers - AfriForum focused on that - but the fact of the matter is that round about 94% of employees in this industry are excluded from help... Two thirds of the industry are black workers and if you are a black worker and you work for a white-owned company, then you are discriminated against.

Dirk Hermann, CEO - Solidarity

He points out that such workers will get only partial help from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

At the start of this slot on Weekend Breakfast, Africa Melane also hears about the plight of independent tour guides from a caller. Hermann discusses the fate of these guides as well.

Listen to the conversation below: (and skip to 6:12 for the interview with Hermann)


2 May 2020 1:04 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
AfriForum
Solidarity
tourism sector
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi Ngubane
Covid-19 relief

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