AfriForum, Solidarity to petition top court over 'economic murder of minorities'

Kallie Kriel says small tourism businesses owned by minorities are disadvantaged by the government's race-based criteria for dishing out financial aid.
Kallie Kriel says small tourism businesses owned by minorities are disadvantaged by the government's race-based criteria for dishing out financial aid.
Image: Phill Magakoe

AfriForum and trade union Solidarity on Tuesday filed an application with the Constitutional Court to apply for leave to appeal against last week's high court judgment which held that government's use of race as a criterion to help tourism businesses was not unlawful.

AfriForum and Solidarity went to the high court in Pretoria last week to review the decision by the tourism department to use race as one of the benchmarks for the awarding of relief to tourism enterprises affected by Covid-19.

In his judgment on Thursday, Jody Kollapen said the criterion used by the department did not perpetuate an unfair advantage for some candidates over others based on race, but rather had the effect of providing those candidates with a head start.

Judge Kollapen found there was nothing racial or unlawful in the department's inclusion of broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBE) as a criterion to be used in the disbursement of funding.   

Dirk Hermann, CEO of Solidarity, said awarding help based on race was "bizarre".

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the organisation decided to approach the Constitutional Court directly as small tourism businesses owned by members of minority groups were in urgent need of help.

“If the case drags on, countless small white-owned businesses will go under and the government will be complicit. Figuratively, it is economic murder of minorities,” Kriel said.

Hermann said it was extremely important to obtain legal certainty on the matter.

“As this is an urgent crisis, we believe the matter is urgent and we therefore asked for access to the Constitutional Court for this matter,” he said.

The tourism relief fund provides one-off capped grant assistance to small, micro and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and after the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Capped at R50,000 per entity, the grant can be used to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other cost items.


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