KZN Tourism relief fund furthers ANC race-based politics
17 March 2021
Early reports indicate that KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) much-vaunted R20 million Tourism relief fund will again be based on broad-based black economic empowerment (BBE) scores, rather than needs and job saving criteria.
This after the official criteria for the fund were made very clear on the Department’s website with the words – ‘An enterprise must be in possession of a BEE Certificate at level 1, 2, or 3 of the B-BBEE Codes’.
The move is in line with the so-called Tourism Relief Equity Fund, where the new R50 000 per business assistance fund seems to be modelled on the same criteria – with businesses not enjoying a 51% black ownership profile being left by the wayside.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has long called for a review of BEE criteria. Faced with surging unemployment and a lagging tourism industry, the new fund allocations should be purely based on assisting business that are on the brink of economic collapse.
Saving jobs and bolstering the tourism industry is the end game – not race-based decisions that seek to compromise the economy.
The DA would have expected better from KZN EDTEA MEC, Ravi Pillay, who has a sound understanding of what it takes to grow the economy. MEC Pillay should also know that many Bed and Breakfast establishments are run from residential premises. These very same businesses would be compelled to sell a 51% stake in their own homes to qualify for funding.
Yet, the MEC’s stance on the funding initiative has been quite clear. “At least 70% of beneficiaries will be enterprises that are black-owned; at least 50% of beneficiaries will be enterprises that are women-owned; at least 30% of beneficiaries will be enterprises that are youth-owned and at least 4% of beneficiaries will be enterprises that have met a target of at least 2% employment of people with disabilities.”
While addressing the inequalities of the past is important, the ANC’s dismal track record of empowering a select few, while letting the economy rot, must remain top of mind. Now is not the time to be allocating critical relief funds based on an individual’s skin colour. Rational thinking and support of businesses that create jobs must be put centre stage.
There is no doubt that this fund forms part of the ANC’s political posturing ahead of the local government elections – and that it has everything to do with securing votes rather than saving jobs.
Issued by Heinz de Boer,DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, 17 March 2021