Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and the Black Business Council (BBC) leadership held a virtual meeting on Thursday, 7 May 2020, to discuss amongst others, the implementation of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and the government’s response to the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.
The high-level and frank engagement, led by Minister Kubayi-Ngubane and the BBC President Sandile Zungu, further discussed the state of transformation in the tourism sector and the measures the Department has taken to accelerate transformation.
Regrettably, this critical and necessary discussion comes at a time when the world is facing an unprecedented crisis that has put the economy on a tailspin. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed many businesses, mainly SMMEs, in a very precarious position with threats to livelihoods and jobs – and the tourism sector is not spared. This is coupled with a growing toxic and skewed narrative that seek to undermine the legitimate laws of this county.
Over the last few days, we have seen attempts by some in our country, who try to use the current crisis, to delegitimise government and policies like BBBEE scoring as part of criteria for relief funding for distressed SMMEs. We would like to remind all and sundry that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and other laws are not suspended during this period. As such, BBBEE remains law and in place and as such, should not be undermined in haste.
The meeting attached great importance on fostering co-operation in advancing transformation, particularly in the tourism sector and creating favourable conditions for the small players in the sector to thrive.
The BBC commends and pledges unwavering support to Minister Kubayi-Ngubane’s relentless efforts and leading from the front in defence of BBBEE as a government policy, despite persistent attacks from all fronts by opponents of transformation.
As a result, the BBC intends to join proceedings, as a friend of the court, in the event that more legal action be mounted against the Department of Tourism’s decision to insist on promoting the transformation objectives in the awarding of the R200million Tourism Relief Fund. This is inextricably linked to maintaining the nature of the recovery that the sector will undergo post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the Department claimed victory over Afriforum and Solidarity in the North Gauteng High Court, which recognised the uneven playing field between white and black-owned companies, created by the country’s historical imbalances. The court also agreed with the Department that the closure of black business “would undermine and set back transformation”.
In welcoming BBCs support, “We are committed to the creation of an inclusive growing economy and it is important that we recognize that our country has a past that was characterized by the exclusion of the majority from participating in the mainstream economy. Our government has adopted the BBBEE policy as part of the effort to heal the divisions of past and to work towards creating a society that gives a fair chance for the majority of South Africans to succeed,” Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.
“We need to strike the reset button post COVID-19, and ensure a new and transformed economy is born out of it as envisaged by the President of the Republic – an inclusive economy, one that doesn’t only favour a select few. As part of the efforts to deracialise the economy, it is important for government to unashamedly assist those who were previously disadvantaged and who now require assistance to become entrepreneurs,” said BBC President Sandile Zungu.