High Court rules tourism relief fund will not create insurmountable advantage
NORTH COAST COURIER / 08 MAY 2020 - 16.55 / PENNY FOURIE
The Pretoria High Court has ruled that consideration of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scores when awarding the Tourism Relief Fund will not create an insurmountable advantage for black-owned businesses over those that are white-owned.
Last week the court ruled in favour of the Tourism Department in the case against lobby group AfriForum and trade union Solidarity.
The groups argued that the BBBEE requirement when awarding the Tourism Relief Fund was discriminatory, saying this was not the time for empowerment.
The Tourism Department said BBBEE accounted for 20 percent of the requirements to be awarded aid.
For the remaining 80 percent other factors would be considered, like proving how the business has been affected by Covid-19.
Applications for the Tourism Fund were suspended pending the outcome of the court case.
Ilembe Chamber of Commerce CEO, Cobus Oelofse said as a result of the confirmed qualification criteria for the tourism fund, the iLembe Chamber had a limited number of members who would qualify.
Oelose said the Chamber had guided a number of businesses with applications for other relief funds but was not aware of any relief funds being made available.
“Business services and accounting members report a very effective turnaround from the UIF TERS initiative, with the vast majority of applications being successful, where criteria were met,” said Oelofse.
Questioned on the impact of the extended lockdown on business Oelofse said the impact was mounting day by day.
“Where businesses have been able to keep their head above water it has resulted in staff terminations or temporary lay-offs with wages being suspended. There are obviously vast disparities, considering that essential and permitted services are able to trade.
“Two concerns are becoming more prevalent the longer the lockdown remains in force. The first being the length of time that it will take for certain sectors in our regional economy to recover, and the second being the ability of affected businesses to continue trading after lockdown, avoiding temporary closures becoming permanent closures.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER