Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, described it as a bitter irony that South Africa is celebrating Freedom Day today, yet it is still necessary for AfriForum to fight in court against government’s racial discrimination against minorities.
“The fact that government is discriminating against minorities, even with crisis relief during COVID-19, is a serious undermining of the freedom of minorities by government.”
AfriForum and Solidarity’s urgent review application against the Department of Tourism’s use of race as benchmark for the provision of COVID-19 relief to tourism enterprises, will be heard tomorrow (28 April) at 10:00 in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Kriel today indicated that his organisation is ready to take this fight to the very end in the highest court since it is unacceptable that government is all too happy to collect taxes from minorities, yet doesn’t hesitate to discriminate against these same minorities when taxpayers’ money is being used.
“It is also shocking that even in a time when everyone in the country is supposed to stand together against the mutual enemy – COVID-19, government has decided to use the provision of relief to struggling enterprises to further its racial agenda,” Kriel added.
On 7 April 2020 AfriForum placed Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the Minister of Tourism, as well as the Department on terms regarding BEE and other requirements. According to Kriel neither the Minister nor the Department reacted to AfriForum’s letter and as such AfriForum now has no other choice but to approach the courts.
“The expressed aim of the Department’s fund is to offer aid to tourism enterprises that are being adversely affected by COVID-19. Seeing as everyone, notwithstanding their race, is being adversely affected by COVID-19, the Department cannot use Section 9(2) of the Constitution, which justifies correction of discrimination from the past, as justification for discriminating assistance against the consequences of COVID-19.”
AfriForum encourages all tourism enterprises to continue applying for relief at www.tourism.gov.za/Pages/COVID19TOURISMRELIEFFUND.aspx. You can SMS the name of your enterprise to 45113 (R1) to provide AfriForum with your enterprise’s details so that we can implement legal action on your behalf should your application be rejected based on BEE requirements. You can also send an email with your enterprise’s details to firstname.lastname@example.org.