In a far-reaching ruling that will have significant implications for the government’s Covid-19 economic relief programmes, the high court in Pretoria has ruled that “race, gender, youth and disability” must be taken into account in the awarding of state relief to businesses stricken by the pandemic.

However, judge president Dunstan Mlambo and judges Norman Davis and Daisy Molefe found on Friday that the state’s criteria for evaluating these factors are “vague” and therefore unlawful and invalid...

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