Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said he couldn’t support a policy decision that would discriminate against white owners of tourism businesses.
He told Parliament that all enterprises needed support during the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 while adding that there would always be a bias towards emerging black business owners due to the discrimination they had suffered.
Mboweni’s comments during a virtual meeting of parliament’s finance committees on Tuesday came as Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane faced a fresh court challenge over the decision that the R20 million tourism relief fund be reserved for black-owned businesses.
Trade union Solidarity and lobby group AfriForum want the Constitutional Court to urgently hear their appeal against the Pretoria High Court’s recent decision to uphold Kubayi-Ngubane’s stance.
Mboweni referred to a conversation with the white owner of the closed Magoebaskloof Hotel, which had 95% black staff. The owner told him he couldn’t get help for his R130-million-a-year business from his insurers, banks or the tourism relief fund, because of his race.
Responding to a question from the Freedom Front Plus’s Fanie du Toit, Mboweni told MPs: “Honourable Du Toit, I can’t support a policy position that you claim discriminates against, say, the owner of the Magoebaskloof Hotel because he is white. No…
“Yes, there’ll always be a bias towards emerging black businesspeople, because they were discriminated against for a long time but let’s pull together and build a South Africa of our dreams, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic and prosperous.”
It’s not the first time Mboweni has differed with Cabinet colleagues. Last week he said he opposed the continued ban on alcohol and cigarettes due to lost taxes but had to abide by Cabinet’s collective decision.
For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.