The Constitutional Court has ruled that the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund that favoured black-owned businesses was unlawful.
The court has also dismissed with costs, the Tourism Department’s application for leave to appeal the ruling. Lobby group AfriForum and trade union Solidarity had taken the department to court.
The department had appealed the 2021 ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, in favour of AfriForum and Solidarity, that the use of black economic empowerment as criteria for the allocation of funds was illegal.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says that it is not in the interest of the court to grant leave to appeal the matter. In 2020, the then Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane introduced the Tourism Equity Fund as an institution that would only grant loans and grants to businesses with at least 51% black ownership.
ConCourt judgment on Tourism
AfriForum and Solidarity say awarding aid funds based on race is unreasonable. The Supreme Court of Appeal agreed and declared this action by the department illegal.