Court rules in favour of tourism dept in relief fund matter

The groups took the Department of Tourism to court arguing the requirement for the relief fund was discriminatory.

FILE: Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Lobby group AfriForum and trade union Solidarity have lost their court bid to have Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) abolished as a requirement for the tourism relief fund.

The groups took the Department of Tourism to court arguing the requirement was discriminatory.

But the department’s lawyers argued that the previously disadvantaged must take preference when resources are limited.

In his ruling on Thursday, Judge Jody Kollapen said AfriForum and Solidarity had not succeeded in advancing any review grounds.

He said the response from the department to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic must recognise the uneven playing field in the industry.

He said a race neutral response could have the effect of deepening fault lines in society.

The judge said the criteria applied when awarding this relief was flexible and does not perpetuate an unfair advantage for some candidates - at least based on race.

He has dismissed this application making no ruling on costs.