BBEEE requirements in tourism must be scrapped

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

The news that government has dropped the requirements for its COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund from 51% to 30% Black ownership is nothing more than a veiled admission that BBEEE simply is not working. But for government to “save face” they could not completely scrap this requirement.

Although there is no doubt that this change will assist this sector which is still reeling from the effects of the uncaring ANC government, lowering the requirement is not enough. If government is serious about ensuring that our travel and tourism sectors flourish, these requirements must be scraped completely.

During the draconian lockdown in 2020, the Department of Tourism introduced the Tourism Equity Fund, which provided grants to businesses, in the tourism and travel sector, which were negatively impacted by the pandemic. The condition for the issuing of such grants was that these businesses had to have at least a 51% Black ownership.

This discriminatory condition caused hundreds of thousands of businesses in the sector to close, leaving not only the owners unemployed but also millions of employees standing in the unemployment line. This condition alone caused untold hardships to millions of people, many of whom still suffer today whilst others have left the sector completely.

I will be submitting official questions to the tourism minister Patricia de Lille on this matter and ask whether she is considering completely scrapping this requirement in future so that all players in the sector can grow and develop without hinderance.