John Steenhuisen. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
John Steenhuisen. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

In a controversial move, the DA has taken its opposition to the use of racial criteria in the distribution of Covid-19 funds to the international stage.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen has implored International Monetary Fund (IMF) MD Kristalina Georgieva to censure the government “and instruct it to stop using IMF monies in a way that discriminates along racial lines and exacerbates racial tension in SA”.

“I have no doubt that the IMF has no intention of fueling racial discord in SA. I trust that the IMF will not hesitate in directing the SA government to not use its loan financing in a way that furthers racial discrimination,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

Steenhuisen said he has no doubt that the majority of these relief funds come from a loan obtained from the IMF.

While the Treasury has announced its intention to seek funding from the IMF it has not yet announced that it has done so, or that the funds have arrived.

When questioned on the status of the IMF application on Thursday, the Treasury said it is still exploring all funding avenues, which “will not be limited locally, but will include exploring all global partners. Funding transactions will be announced officially once concluded.”

Last week, the Treasury said it was looking to raise R95bn (about $5.2bn) from multilateral institutions — $50m from the World Bank, $1bn from the New Development Bank and $4.2bn from the IMF — for business support, job creation and the protection of existing jobs. 

The DA, along with trade union Solidarity and lobby group AfriForum, have opposed the use of broad-based BEE (B-BBEE) criteria in the distribution of relief funds by the department of tourism and small business development.

Solidarity is going to approach the Constitutional Court to appeal a ruling by the high court, which endorsed the use of empowerment criteria in the implementation of the R200m tourism relief fund.

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has insisted that the use of B-BBEE criteria does not exclude white businesses from applying for relief funds if they are B-BBEE compliant.

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