Tourism minister’s BEE plan amid coronavirus crisis mocks democracy, says IRR
Johannesburg - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s stated intention to help only some people and not others because of the colour of their skin makes a mockery of South Africa's constitutional democracy, the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said on Sunday.
The IRR rejected without qualification Kubayi-Ngubane’s stated intention to discriminate on the basis of race in providing assistance to businesses suffering under the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, the institute said in a statement.
It was 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 Kubayi-Ngubane to insist on April 7 that race would be used as the basis of determining which South Africans received government support.
"Only on Thursday, the president thanked South Africans ‘for reaffirming to each other and to the world that we ... are a people who come together and unite at moments of great crisis’. Yet the minister’s intention to help only some people and not others because of the colour of their skin makes a mockery of our constitutional democracy, and makes a liar of President Ramaphosa," the IRR said.
“Only a skewed consideration of economic realities can lead to the conclusion that race-based policies have secured a meaningful and sustainable improvement in the lives of South Africans," IRR deputy head of policy research Hermann Pretorius said in the statement.
“The IRR vigorously opposes the notion of race-based policies. South Africa couldn’t afford ineffective and investment-deterring race-based policies before this crisis, and we most certainly cannot afford them now.
“Discrimination on the basis of race is immoral and inexcusable. It has no place in any constitutional democracy. The fact that the national government now intends to use race as a criterion for desperately needed assistance in a time of crisis is shameful.
“While South Africans desperately need their government to help them, while the minister of health is rightly rolling out critical Covid-19 testing, the minister of tourism is rolling out pencil-testing,” he said.
The IRR would pursue appropriate legal avenues to ensure this injustice was righted. The IRR would work with any South African concerned by the "national government’s flagrant and destructive racism" that would only put #LivesAndLivelihoods at risk, the IRR statement said.
African News Agency (ANA)