- The South African Tourism department has been interdicted by the Pretoria High Court and ordered not to pay affected business by Covid-19 from equity fund
- The move comes after the Solidarity and AfriForum launched a court bid against the pay-outs and they have now succeeded to convince the court
- Meanwhile, the department has also confirmed receiving the interdict by releasing a statement on their digital platforms
A word from the Pretoria High Court is that the national tourism department has been interdicted from making any payments from the R1,2 billion of the Tourism Equity Fund.
Various media reports have indicated on Tuesday that the government has been halted from releasing the monies as the fund was launched to aid companies in distress brought by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic in the sector.
Established earlier this year, the fund involved R506 million that was meant to be contributed by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency while R594 million was set to come from what is known as strategic bank co-funders.
On top of that, minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s department has also confirmed receiving the interdict as it released a statement on Twitter.
The interdict comes at the back of a number of attempts to deem the R1.2bn Tourism Equity Fund as unlawful hence Kubayi-Ngubane established it without the go-ahead from her trade, industry, and competition counterpart, Ebrahim Patel.
The Business Day reported that Kubayi-Ngubane formed the fund without the approval from Patel as required by law and that prompted lobby groups Solidarity and AfriForum to argue in the Pretoria high court a fortnight ago.
Said Solidarity's CEO, Dirk Hermann, as per News24:
"The pandemic doesn't discriminate against anyone on the basis of race and yet this disaster is being exploited by the government.
"And only Black Economic Empowerment businesses are provided with funds at the expense of established businesses of white owners who are forced to close their doors."
Meanwhile, the two bodies argued that the fund should be regarded as unlawful in terms of the tourism sector code and the Broad-Based BEE Act as well as the constitution because it constitutes unfair discrimination.
Facing backlash over the decision to exclude non-compliant companies as well as a failed lawsuit, the minister is sticking to her guns.
Briefly News reported that AfriForum and Solidarity had challenged the criterion, adamant that relief amid the current economic crisis should not be dished out on the basis of race.
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