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AfriForum, tourism minister at loggerheads over relief fund

CITIZEN.CO.ZA - COURTS / 16 APRIL 2020 - 06.15 / BERNADETTE WICKS

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also denied that she had been served with court papers, after the organisation brought an urgent application over the fund.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and civil rights group AfriForum are embroiled in a spat over the new Tourism Relief Fund.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Image: Supplied

AfriForum on Tuesday announced it had served the minister with an urgent application to have a judge order that race “plays no part” in determining who has access to the new fund.

The new fund provides for emergency funding of up to R50,000 for small, micro and medium-sized businesses in the tourism industry in a bid to mitigate against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The tourism minister and/or tourism department have now confirmed the department shall apply empowerment criteria for the granting of relief,” AfriForum’s chief executive Kallie Kriel said in the application.

“The minister’s stated intention to help only some people and not others, because of the colour of their skin, their age and/or their gender, makes a mockery of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

“Discrimination on the basis of race and other unalterable characteristics is immoral and inexcusable.”

But the minister said yesterday the fund was guided by tourism’s broad-based black economic empowerment codes of good practice and the objectives of economic transformation. She said this was in accordance with the law.

She denied she had been served with court papers.

“We received papers from Afriforum attorneys purporting to be an urgent court interdict pertaining to the relief fund and further indicating we should respond by 9am [on Wednesday],” she said. “Those papers, which were e-mailed to us, did not have a court case number, meaning there is no court process which was initiated and we are not able to respond to court.”

Kriel said AfriForum’s legal team had provided the state attorney’s office with the case number.

The Citizen has also seen a copy of the papers bearing a case number.

“Either she’s being mischievious or there’s a miscommunication between her offices and the state attorney’s office,” Kriel said. “We would rather she explain why she discriminates on the basis of race during a crisis.”

The case is due to come before the court next week.

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LINK : https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/courts/2269773/afriforum-tourism-minister-at-loggerheads-over-relief-fund/

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