DA to appeal 'legally indefensible' BBBEE relief funding ruling
The DA plans to appeal the High Court judgment which ruled it was lawful for the government to consider BBBEE criteria as part of its distribution of relief funding.
The judgment was issued last week and was heard by the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria, led by Judge Dustan Mlambo.
The ruling stated it was lawful for the Small Business Development Department to stipulate that debt relief under the debt relief finance scheme and the business growth resilience fund should consider race, gender, youth and disability.
The judgment also highlighted that the country's racial disparities and the Covid-19 pandemic's effects along racial lies could not be ignored.
The court had found there were issues with how the regulations regarding funding were formulated and has instructed Small Business Development Minister Khumubudzo Nsthavheni to review the regulations as they were too vague. But she had to include race-based criteria as part of the reviewed regulations.
The DA insists it is legally indefensible for "racist criteria" to be used in the context of the distribution of relief funding.
"While we are pleased that the court upheld our argument that the government had acted unlawfully by failing to provide clarity on how relief criteria would be applied, the larger issue, of racial discrimination in disaster relief, requires urgent reconsideration in a higher court," said the DA small business development spokesperson, MP Zakhele Mbhele.
"It is both morally and legally indefensible that racist criteria are used in the context of distributing disaster relief.
"The precedent that would otherwise be created is a huge setback for non-racialism and intensifies the impulse for the lens of race being applied to everything.
"We maintain that, in this context, there is a valid argument and strong legal interpretation to require rational exemptions from BBBEE policy."