In a letter to the President, Solidarity has requested him to intervene in the Department of Tourism’s decision to use race as criterion when awarding help during the Covid-19 crisis.
Solidarity and AfriForum will be in court on 28 April to review the Department of Tourism’s decision to use race as criterion during this crisis.
Solidarity asked the President to intervene politically and that a settlement be reached outside of court, wherein parties agree that race cannot be used as criteria to award help.
For the sake of the legal process, Solidarity asked the President to respond before or on Monday, 27 April at 9:00.
In the letter to the President, Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive of Solidarity, wrote the following:
“This case should not be on the court roll. Help offered based on race will divide South Africa in this time of crisis.”
The letter further reads:
“You have called on fellow South Africans, on several occasions, to stand together in this fight against this new invisible enemy, in order to protect the lives of our loved ones and our resources. This invisible virus knows no colour and discriminates against no one. Everyone is affected and everyone must stand together.”
“However, the Department of Tourism has decided differently. Unlike the virus, the Tourism Relief Fund discriminates based on race. Race is a criterion for help.
During one of the biggest crises in South Africa, South Africans are still divided by race.”
“You ask for everyone’s help, yet the Minister of Tourism does not want to help everyone.
Tourism is going to be the last sector to recover after the Covid-19 crisis.
This sector is severely affected by the government’s regulations and it will take a long time to recover.”
“This Fund excludes large businesses, most white-owned micro-businesses and small enterprises that are not tax-registered (most of them being black-owned).”
“Only companies with a turnover of less than R5 million per year and registered for tax purposes qualify for help from this Fund.
A small group of black owners, only 7% of the sector, will qualify for the lion’s share of the relief. In total, 93% of owners, including thousands of small informal black businesses, are excluded from receiving any assistance.”
“Of the 350 000 employees in the sector, two out of three are black. This fund excludes the vast majority of these breadwinners.
In the process, this fund is committing double discrimination in a crisis – first towards the white business owners and secondly towards all workers, white and black alike. Hunger does not spare those whose employers are white, yet the Tourism Relief Fund does.”
“In court documents the Department of Tourism offered black empowerment, which was designed for a specific purpose, as its defence.
The purpose of black empowerment is to correct the disadvantages of the past. This fund is not about benefiting those previously disadvantaged; it is about survival.”
“According to black economic empowerment regulations micro enterprises are exempt from black economic empowerment requirements in normal circumstances.”
“Amid the Covid-19 crisis black empowerment, with the many administrative and financial obligations that come with it, suddenly applies to these undertakings.”
“In this crisis, the hurdle that must be overcome by white companies became much higher than what it is under normal circumstances.
You said that the coronavirus could leave a positive legacy, which is bringing South Africans together through the determination for survival.”
“This help offered based on race can divide South Africans. It can be the negative legacy of the corona crisis.”
“In the meantime, Solidarity will continue to do everything in its power to help fight the virus fearlessly and to help people to work in a healthy environment.
We are praying for you and everyone in our beautiful country.”
The letter can be read at the following link: