NEWS & ANALYSIS

ANC abuses COVID-19 to push racist agenda against SMME’s – AfriForum

Organisation considering approaching court for urgent order to have criteria declared unconstitutional

ANC abuses COVID-19 to push racist agenda against SMME’s

24 March 2020

AfriForum condemns the government’s policy to provide financial relief to only black-owned businesses that are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter of demand sent to the Department of Small Business Development last night, AfriForum has already demanded that a criterium of the emergency funding package for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) be set aside, which stipulates that only black-owned businesses would qualify for financial relief. The emergency funding package was announced by pres. Cyril Ramaphosa last night during a media conference about government’s action plans to manage the COVID-19 crisis. 

Furthermore, AfriForum is considering approaching the court for an urgent order to have this criterium be declared unconstitutional, should the Department refuse to adhere to the civil rights organisation’s letter of demand.

In a document of the Department certain requirements are listed to which businesses must comply before they would be eligible for financial aid from the government’s COVID-19 emergency fund. One of these is that a business must be 51% black owned to qualify.

According to Kallie Kriel, AfriForum’s CEO, the government’s attempt to abuse a pandemic to reward discrimination against minorities is racist and immoral. “The government’s continued attack on white people and businesses in the country in these uncertain times is unacceptable. The President continuously states that everyone in the country should stand together to fight against the virus. Yet now the ANC government wants to abuse the virus to fight against white people. AfriForum will oppose this racist policy with all our might.”

“Every business in this country could suffer due to the potential economic consequences of this virus – it is not dependent on one’s race. By setting this criterium, the ANC is denying the contribution of white-owned businesses to the economy, as well as the jobs that they create in a country where the unemployment rate is sky-high and will probably continue to rise due to the effects of the virus. This is not the time for the ANC to push its racist ideologies by increased discrimination against white-owned businesses,” says Kriel.

AfriForum encourages all SMMEs that do not comply to this criterium to contact the civil rights organisation to fight this on their behalf. AfriForum also recommends that businesses register on www.smmesa.gov.za. SMS your business’s name to 45113 (R1) to supply your business’ details to AfriForum. More information about this campaign will soon be made available by AfriForum on its social media platforms.

Issued by Carina Bester, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 24 March 2020