The controversial R1.2 billion (€641m) Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) is in the spotlight again following the granting of an urgent interdict by the Gauteng High Court on Monday (April 26).
Lobby group, AfriForum, and trade union, Solidarity, brought the case before the High Court as they believe the TEF “does not have the interests of all tourism players at heart”.
The fund was launched to help new businesses successfully enter the tourism sector, with the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, saying it would aid transformation of the industry and support businesses owned by formerly excluded groups, including the black community, disabled community, the youth and women.
Many Tourism Update readers have been critical of the fund, noting that its timing is unfortunate, given that the tourism sector received inadequate relief during the COVID pandemic, with numerous businesses facing closures and mass retrenchments. Others have criticised the TEF for excluding the small, medium and micro enterprise sector in its funding criteria.
Responding to the article on the High Court ruling, MD of The MICE Academy, Helen Brewer, had this to say:
“The most threatening challenge is that the government and the private sector are not on the same page over most funding decisions.
Government decisions are ideological in nature with all the various rewards that accompanies these decisions, while the private sector are concerned with lifeline economic factors, especially at this time.
The two are just not compatible to arrive at an equitable solution. A most unfortunate situation.”