Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has defended her department’s plans to launch the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) – but opponents are preparing to take the matter to court.

The fund was set up and launched by the department in collaboration with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) as a new financial support mechanism to encourage investment and transformation in the tourism sector.

“The fund was set up as a public-private partnership, particularly with commercial banks, to pool investments in the tourism sector to increase the diversification and expansion of ownership of tourist attractions in South Africa,” said Kubayi, Ngubane.

However, she noted that the fund has been criticized by the Solidarity union and civil society Afriforum, who have questioned the legality, morality and transformative outcome of the fund’s qualifying criteria, suggesting that it was affected by the provisions of Broad- Based black deviates from economic strengthening (B-BBEE law).

The minister said she met with the two groups this week to explain the fund and why it is necessary.

“We have informed Solidarity and AfriForum that the TEF is a necessary intervention to create an integrative tourism economy in which previously disadvantaged people, young people and women, are represented and can actively participate in personal responsibility and control.

“This fund will support our joint efforts for economic recovery and reconstruction so that we can make a determined effort to eradicate the legacy of colonialism and apartheid,” said the minister.

In response, Solidarity and AfriForum said they will continue their proposed litigation regarding the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF). This after the meeting between these organizations and the department gave no results.

“On their part, no concessions were made or offered at all. After we had given them countless suggestions and explanations about the consequences and effects of their actions, they simply confirmed their original position and questioned our motives, ”said Morné Malan, Head of Communication at Solidarity.

The organizations said the department maliciously arranged and directed the meeting. As a result, litigation is now inevitable.

“It is clear that the Minister of Tourism does not focus on the interests of all the different communities. Instead of their department reaching out to companies in trouble, the department is now abusing the situation by using it as an opportunity to advance their race-driven goals, ”said Monique Taute, campaign director at AfriForum.

“Like all other small tourism businesses, minority companies are in desperate need of support. Many companies had to close their doors after the government’s strict Covid-19 restrictions.

“It is immoral for the government to now use lifebuoys to help the people on the riverside while thousands of others are drowning,” Taute said.

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