Tourism minister rebukes AfriForum over emailed court papers
Johannesburg - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has rebuked AfriForum for allegedly serving her with court papers via email.
The court papers allegedly also did not have a high court case number to prove authenticity.
Kubani-Ngubane expressed her outrage after her office was inundated with inquiries about AfriForum’s application to interdict her from distributing R200million of the Tourism Relief Fund - allegedly to mainly black-owned companies in the tourism industry.
In their court papers, the organisation says the Tourism 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, made a mockery of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
In his affidavit, AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said the discrimination on the basis of race and other unalterable characteristics was immoral and inexcusable.
“It is unacceptable that President Cyril Ramaphosa could call for national unity on March 15, urging South Africans to act together to overcome the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, only for the Tourism Minister to insist on April 7 that race and other immutable characteristics would be used as the basis for determining which South Africans would receive government support.
“The fact that the government now intends to use race, gender and age as a criterion for desperately needed assistance in a time of crisis is shameful. It is also unlawful.
“The ‘measure’ is not a measure that was adopted with a view to addressing past inequalities; in its own terms the Tourism Relief Fund is ‘Established as an intervention to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector',” Kriel said.
He wants the minister to be interdicted.
Kubayi-Ngubane, however, was dismissive of the manner in which the intended litigation came to her attention.
“We received papers from attorneys of AfriForum purporting to be an urgent court interdict to the Relief Fund and further indicating that we should respond by 9am today (yesterday).
“Our position is that those papers, which were emailed 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 the court,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
At the time of publication, Kriel had not responded to allegations of irregularities in their court papers.
Kubayi-Ngubane was adamant that the Tourism Relief Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to small, micro and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“Capped at R50000 per entity, grant funding can be utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items.
“The fund is guided by the Tourism B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice approved by the Minister of Trade and Industries in 2015, and administered in line with the objectives of economic transformation, and our vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development,” she said.
“Any person or business in the tourism sector can apply for the fund, regardless of the colour of their skin."