On Friday, the Constitutional Court rejected Solidarity’s request for leave to appeal in its case against the Department of Tourism.
Solidarity has appealed to the Constitutional Court after the Pretoria High Court found the department could use race as a criterion when awarding financial aid to small businesses.
The application was brought on an urgent basis.
“The Constitutional Court considered the application and decided that the application should be rejected as it is not in the interests of justice that the case is now heard,” the judgment states. The reason given by the panel of judges for this is that there were insufficient reasons why they were appealed directly to the Constitutional Court and why it was urgent.
“It is absolutely shocking that the Constitutional Court does not want to hear Solidarity’s application for the violations on an urgent basis,” said Dr. Dirk Hermann, chief executive of Solidarity. “This is about people in extreme need because of a crisis that has not caused them in any way. Now they still have to wait for an insensitive court process. ”
Hermann says Solidarity is not going to leave the matter here. “The decision to give help based on what people look like is the low point of the government’s racial ideology.”
He says Solidarity follows a four-step approach in response to the state’s racial ideology. “First, we fight fully in court, secondly we mobilize people to say no and never accept that it is right. Third, we tell the community to never depend on the state and do more and more things themselves and help each other. Community power is incredibly strong. Fourth, our legal team is already laying a complaint against the South African government with the United Nations about its racial ideology in a time of crisis, ”Hermann says.
The Department of Tourism welcomed Friday’s ruling.
“The Northern Gauteng High Court ruling confirmed that the playing field between white and black controlled companies is not equal, due to the country’s historical inequalities. The ruling also confirmed that race criteria fall within the law, ”the department said in a statement. “The Constitutional Court’s ruling is in line with our view that the case has no legal or moral grounds.”
The department says it has already received 13,000 financial aid applications from struggling businesses. “The department is already in the process of processing payments to beneficiaries. It is important to mention that these beneficiaries include black and white owners. ”
Although the department referred to Solidarity’s and AfriForum’s cases in the statement, the court on Friday only issued a ruling on Solidarity’s case. AfriForum’s application for appeal does not form part of Solidarity’s application.
Hermann said if the court also rejected AfriForum’s application, both parties will apply to appeal to the highest court of appeal in Bloemfontein.