AfriForum and Solidarity managed to deal a final blow to the Department of Tourism’s discriminatory Tourism Fund. This comes after this department had appealed against the 2021 Supreme Court of Appeal’s 2021 ruling in favour of AfriForum and Solidarity in terms of which the use of black economic empowerment (BEE) as criteria for granting relief from the Tourism Equity Fund was unlawful.

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the then Minister of Tourism, introduced the Equity Fund in 2020 as an institution that would only allocate loans and grants to businesses with at least 51% black ownership. According to AfriForum and Solidarity, the allocation of relief funds on the basis of race is unreasonable. The Constitutional Court confirmed this today and declared this action of the department as unlawful.

“The fund’s criteria were downright racist. The government may try to disguise it as transformation, but it has shown its true colours long ago. It was extremely reprehensible to exploit the damage caused to the tourism sector by the government’s unreasonable Covid-19 restrictions to discriminate against people on top of it. South African citizens are sick and tired of having to witness how the government’s race ideology is crippling the country’s economy. This judgment sends an important message to the government that race can no longer serve as a trump card that takes precedence over all other interests,” Anton van der Bijl, Solidarity’s Deputy Chief Executive for Legal Matters.

“This judgment is a hard blow for the South African government in its battle to protect its ‘right’ to discriminate on the basis of race,” said Ernst van Zyl, AfriForum’s Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content.

According to AfriForum and Solidarity, this is an important victory as the government’s ongoing obsession with race and representivity still is, in the opinion of these institutions, one of the main obstacles to a thriving economy.

“Today’s judgment is a major victory but the legacy of the government’s devotedness to race above all is still visible in countless state institutions such as Eskom and to a large extent it is contributing to the current crisis in the country. However, today’s judgment lays a strong foundation for further battles and litigation,” Van der Bijl concluded.

“After more than 100 years of racially discriminatory policies which continue into the 21ste century, it is high time that this appalling practice is abolished and that grasping at straws to justify its continuation in the present, as the government has attempted to do in this instance, is stopped,” Van Zyl concluded.