Any person or small business in the tourism sector, regardless of their skin colour, can apply for financial relief from the Tourism Relief Fund, says Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
The minister said this following Afriforum’s announcement that it had served the department with court papers calling for the review of the Tourism Relief Fund. There were charges that the fund discriminated against white people.
“Any person or business in the tourism sector can apply for the fund, regardless of the colour of their skin,” the ministry said. “Applicants are required to be fully compliant as required by law. More information on the fund is available on the department’s website www.tourism.gov.za.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Kubayi-Ngubane said her department had been inundated by inquiries from the public on the matter.
“We therefore would like to make it categorically clear to the public that no such court papers were filed with the court by Afriforum to date. Therefore, any statement issued to the contrary is disingenuous,” read the statement.
The ministry said it received papers from attorneys of Afriforum purporting to be an Urgent Court Interdict to the Relief Fund and further indicating that it should respond by 9 a.m.
“Our position is that those papers, which were emailed to us, did not have a court case number, meaning there is no court process, which was initiated, and we are not able to respond to court,” said the Ministry.
The Tourism Relief Fund, which AfriForum is vehemently opposing, provides once-off capped grant assistance to Small Micro and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and after the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa.
Capped at R50,000 per entity, grant funding can be used to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items.
The fund is guided by the Tourism Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice approved by the Minister of Trade and Industries in 2015, and administered in line with the objectives of Economic Transformation, and its vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development.
The Ministry said the Department of Tourism is acting in accordance with Section 10 of the B-BBEE Act.
AfriForum has responded claiming the Minister of Tourism is spreading fake news by “falsely claiming” that AfriForum did not file court papers yesterday to oppose “her and her Department’s use of race as a benchmark in COVID-19 relief programmes”.
AfriForum said in a statement that it has “indeed started the legal process”. A stamped notice of the motion was sent to media, including SAPeople, to show the proof.
Sources: SAnews.gov.za, AfriForum