President of the Black Business Council (BBC), Sandile Zungu, has welcomed the announcement of the R1.2bn (€65m) Tourism Equity Fund, which was launched yesterday (January 26) by the Department of Tourism in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development.
The fund was launched to help new businesses successfully enter the tourism sector.
Zungu addressed the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, saying the BBC had been asking for this specific support since the beginning of lockdown, and was glad to see the concept of the fund actualised.
“It is not your narrow mandate to go out of your way and specifically support black businesses, but it is encouraging to know that black businesses have not been forgotten.”
The Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, explained that the fund would not be structured in the standard manner of grants and loans, but would include non-financial support, including assistance with market access.
“I am very pleased to see that in the conceptualising of this fund you have thought beyond the grants, loans and debts. Assistance with market access is hugely important to developing businesses,” said Zungu.
He said the efficacy of the fund would be important in determining investor confidence in the tourism industry. “We have specifically appreciated that the tourism fund has been one of the foremost projects to demonstrate that this economic stimulus is a reality,” he said, adding that the fund’s support of recovery in the tourism sector would contribute to economic recovery in South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed. “Tourism will play a pivotal role in transforming the economy. If the industry is to play this role in aiding economic recovery from COVID, it must transform and develop.”
Kubayi-Ngubane noted that the fund would aid transformation of the industry would support businesses owned by formerly excluded groups, including the black community, disabled community, the youth and women.