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Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the department will restructure the Tourism Transformation Fund to make it more responsive and accessible to entrepreneurs.

The Minister said this when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday.

“Our government has a responsibility to transform the economy and to create an inclusive non-racial society in which South Africans share equitably in the wealth of our country. In this effort we shall not be deterred.

“While some success has been recorded in the implementation of the Tourism Transformation Fund, which is administered in partnership with the National Empowerment Fund, it will be restructured in response to the feedback we received from entrepreneurs on their experiences with the fund in its current form.

“We are currently redesigning the fund to be more efficient and more accessible to entrepreneurs and we will be making an announcement in the coming weeks.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said the restructuring of the fund comes as part of the department’s efforts to respond to the growing sense of unease among the previously disadvantaged emanating from the slow progress of transformation of the economy most visibly in the tourism sector.

She said the department has adopted an approach premised on the assumption that transformation of the economy is a collective responsibility that has been embraced by all South Africans.

“The Fund is capitalised to the tune of R 77 million from its initial amount of R120 million after about R43 million [worth] of successful applications,” she said.

Kubayi-Ngubane said, meanwhile, that in January this year the department launched the Tourism Equity Fund.

This is a dedicated fund designed to provide a combination of debt finance and grant funding to facilitate equity acquisition as well as new project development in the tourism sector by enterprises with 51% black ownership.

The combined value of the Tourism Equity Fund at just over R1.2 billion inclusive of debt from Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and its commercial banking partner.

However, the processing of applications has been interdicted by the court following an application against the fund by AfriForum and Solidarity.

“Once again, the effort to transform the economy to make it more inclusive is being frustrated. As I have already said, we shall not be deterred in this effort. Our lawyers are studying the reasons for the interdict and a response to this shall be provided.”

SAnews.gov.za

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