According to an article by Rapport, Tito Mboweni’s favorite hotel in the Magoebaskloof had to send almost 90% of its black employees home without pay because the white owner did not qualify for the government’s financial aid scheme.
The outspoken finance minister expressed his frustration with ANC policy for the umpteenth time in a virtual meeting of the finance committee on Tuesday.
Asked by FF Plus member Fanie du Toit about the government’s ruling that black-owned businesses get preference when it comes to Covid assistance, Mboweni replied: “I cannot support a policy decision that discriminates against now but the owner of the Magoebaskloof hotel because he is white.
He went on: “Yes, there will always be prejudices against emerging black business people because they have been discriminated against for too long, but we must come together and build a South Africa of our dreams, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic and prosperous.”
Deon Steyn, the owner of the small hotel overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful valley, spoke candidly with Rapport about the talks between him and his important guest. He says the minister, who farms nearby, regularly visits him in search of something to eat. He was there on Monday and the two began talking about the financial stress that the Covid restriction places on tourism businesses like his.
Steyn says Mboweni was surprised to hear that Steyn was struggling to get money from the government’s tourism emergency fund because he is white.Reported in Rapport
“I told him that every single fund I had already applied for had turned me down.”
This comes after government said a BEE qualification is needed to get COVID-19 business relief.
John Steenhuisen, acting leader of the DA, sent a petition to Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, complaining about the government’s directive that financial aid will only be paid to businesses that meet certain race criteria.
Most of the relief fund’s money comes from a government loan with the IMF.
AfriForum and Solidarity’s legal teams filed court documents seeking to approach the Constitutional Court directly on an urgent basis. This is to appeal against the Pretoria High Court ruling that gives the Department of Tourism the green light to use race as a benchmark to determine which struggling businesses should be helped.
According to Kubayi-Ngubane, the Department of Tourism is continuing to impose black empowerment requirements on applications for assistance from businesses in this industry.
The Minister made the support on race clear at a press briefing: