Covid-19: AfriForum, Solidarity lose bid to remove BEE relief criteria

Covid-19: AfriForum, Solidarity lose bid to remove BEE relief criteria

- Solidarity and AfriForum have failed in their attempt to challenge the BEE requirements for Covid-19 relief in the tourism sector

- The court disagreed that the criteria created an unfair advantage for some candidates based on race

- Solidarity has since confirmed that it will be taking the matter to the Constitutional Court

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Solidarity and AfriForum's legal bid to challenge to BEE criteria for providing businesses in the tourism sector with Covid-19 relief has fallen flat.

This comes after Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane opted to use broad-based BEE codes to determine whether or not companies in the sector could access relief funding.

BusinessLIVE reports that the North Gauteng High Court disagreed with the union and lobby group over the legality of the criteria considers.

The court expressed the view that these criteria did not create an unfair advantage for select candidates based on race but rather gave previously disadvantaged candidates a head start.

READ ALSO: DA calls on Ramaphosa to stop racialising Covid-19 economic relief

Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann confirmed that the union would approach the Constitutional Court to challenge the use of race when dishing out assistance.

“It is imperative that SA gets legal certainty on whether, in a state of disaster, the constitution allows for discrimination based on race in order to qualify for relief. Solidarity is going to request access to the Constitutional Court. As the crisis is urgent, we believe the matter, too, is urgent."

Hermann expressed the view that Covid-19 did not discriminate based on race, dubbing the government's decision to provide relief along these parameters immoral.

“It is not only white business owners who are affected but also all employees in the industry, of which two out of every three are black. Hunger and distress know no colour,” Hermann said.

The department argued that it is legally compelled to apply BEE regardless of the situation.

“It is sad that Solidarity now has to turn to the Constitutional Court because the government is set to continue with the discriminatory race criterion it imposed to qualify for emergency relief. This action by the government cannot be justified in any way, and therefore Solidarity will not leave it at that." reported that Democratic Alliance interim leader John Steenhuisen had condemned the BEE requirements, slamming it as unconstitutional.

Kubayi-Ngubane, on the other hand, welcomed the ruling adamant that 'justice is on our side'.

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