AfriForum, Solidarity nurse bruises after another major court defeat
SUNDAY WORLD / 16 JUNE 2020 - 14.11 / GEORGE MATLALA
Judge rules appeal bid is not in interest of justice
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says her department will not discriminate against any business in disbursing relief funding for the battered sector in response to COVID-19.
Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane PICTURE: GCIS
Kubayi-Ngubane was responding to another major court victory over lobby groups Solidarity and AfriForum on her use of broad-based black economic empowerment as part of the criteria to allocate funding to businesses.
Earlier last month, the Pretoria High Court ruled that the COVID-19 response must recognise the uneven playing field between white and black companies created by the country’s historical imbalance and that it was not unlawful to use race in helping distressed companies. The organisations petitioned the Constitutional Court, which dismissed their bid, saying it was not in the interest of justice.
This week, the Pretoria High Court dismissed the organisations’ leave to appeal its decision on the use of race in disbursing COVID-19 funds to distressed companies in the sector. Judge Jody Kollapen said there was no other court that could rule in favour of the two organisations, adding that redress measures were part of the constitution.
“Ultimately what this court was called upon to determine was the rationality and lawfulness of affirmative action measures when they are included in the Tourism Relief Fund criteria. What must be recalled is that as a ma er of principle such measures, when they are properly applied, do not violate the equality principle and further that in this case the court concluded that the measures were narrowly tailored and passed legal muster,” he said.
“There is no reasonable prospect that another court would come to a different conclusion on this conclusion.” Kubayi-Ngubane said she hoped the latest court decision laid the matter to rest.
“South Africa has a healthy and robust democracy and our courts have always been a fair and impartial arbiter whenever clarity is sought. It is therefore important to re-emphasise that the design of our programmes is guided by the principles of fairness, equity and justice and there can never be any form of discrimination against any business owner in our sector,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
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