The Minister of Tourism has failed to use relevant criteria for relief funding under the Disaster Management Act. This is according to Afriforum and Solidarity who made this argument at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.
They say the minister was not lawfully entitled to use B-BBEE criteria as the main requirement to access emergency funds in the tourism sector. Both Afriforum and Solidarity are challenging the high court decision which favoured the tourism department to use the said criteria for relief funds.
Afriforum wants the SCA to review the decision by the Department of Tourism to make relief funding available, subject to B-BBEE criteria, set aside. It has been submitted that the restrictions imposed by government in an effort to curb the spread of the Coronavirus have had a devastating financial effects on the sector as a whole.
“This was not the exercise by her of a ministerial discretion of executive decision making. This was the application by the tourism department of principles that it sought applied in the circumstances of relief funding. And we say on that basis, this matter falls to be reviewed under PAJA and the Sub Sections including the fact that the minister made a mistake in law by relying on section 10 of the B-BBEE Act,” says Afriforum’s senior counsel Greta Engelbrecht.
Meanwhile, Solidarity says the criteria used by the Minister of Tourism for relief funding was selective. It contends that the criteria is vague and will not benefit all affected parties.
“What they are saying is that, the criteria including the B-BBEE criteria is seemingly aimed at placing black owned businesses meaning the businesses self at an advantage and not necessarily everyone that operates or employees within that particular sector.” Senior Counsel Corne Goosen said.
The legal representative for the minister is Senior Counsel Azhar Bham says there is nothing untoward about the relief criteria used to assist affected businesses in the tourism sector.
“There wasn’t an exclusional race, it formed a part of the assessment. You may take issue with the challenges in how that assessment score card was setup. But on the basis of what is set out there, there was eight points in it. And of course it was eight points so if there was a business there is absolutely no regard, to empowerment matters in relation to the South Africa and its history.” says Senior Counsel Azhar Bham.
Judgment has been reserved.
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