The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to both the Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and to the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) requesting that the applicants and beneficiaries the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) be made public.
This follows a presentation from SEFA to the Portfolio Committee of Tourism regarding the TEF. The presentation confirmed that the Fund’s real objective is to grow connected ANC elites.
The DA’s concerns are that the TEF:
- Is concerned only with enterprises of a minimum of R40 million, or at the very least “over R10 million only”;
- Will focus on only 31 such enterprises;
- After spending over R1 billion, it is envisioned that only 516 jobs would be created; and
- Aims at promoting the participation of the black enterprises within the tourism sector where there is a minimum of 51% of black ownership – excluding other struggling businesses within the sector.
More concerning is that although there are multiple requirements to qualify to obtain funding and assistance from the Fund – understanding, or having experience within the tourism sector is not a requirement.
With this criteria lacking, it is clear that this may be used by some to create personal wealth, as with little or no interest or knowledge in tourism the chance is high that the sector would enjoy little development from such individuals.
The presentation confirmed that government is not interested in growing tourism on the ground, considering that the overwhelming majority of individuals and enterprises in the sector are small and micro-enterprises. Government’s aim is to grow the ANC big-earner elite by creating a perception of growing the tourism sector without actually doing so.
Although the TEF will create a handful of millionaires, it will do little to actually transform, grow and develop tourism in South Africa.
Given the government’s atrocious record of handling money in instances such as these, the DA is of the strong belief that the administration of the TEF’s funds be an open process.