The R1.2 billion Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) that was launched in January by the Department of Tourism in partnership with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency has been stalled further. This follows a High Court interdict on 15 April 2021 to temporarily halt the processing of the TEF by lobby group, AfriForum, and trade union, Solidarity.
Afriforum and Solidarity are opposed to the TEF on the grounds that it is discriminatory as it has been earmarked specifically for black owned tourism enterprises, disabled people, women and the youth, rather than helping all distressed tourism businesses. They met with the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, in February to discuss their objections, but were unable to reach a resolution and consequently pursued legal action.
Regarding this decision, Monique Taute, Head of Campaigns at AfriForum, said, “It is clear that the Minister of Tourism does not have the interests of all the various communities at heart. Instead of her department reaching out to businesses that are in trouble, the department is now abusing the situation by using it as an opportunity to promote its race-driven goals.”
However, the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, maintains that the TEF was never intended to be a Covid-19 relief fund. It was conceptualised prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to help bring about transformation in the tourism industry.
On 26 April, Kubayi-Ngubane released a media statement acknowledging the court ruling and stating that the Department of Tourism will abide by it.
Photo credit: South African Tourism on Flickr