The IFP welcomes the new Black Economic
Empowerment (BEE) charter for tourism, as announced by Minister
of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk in
Durban on Sunday, but raises concerns about its application and
the potential limits it places on black tourism ventures.
"While the IFP believes that the new
BEE initiative will benefit the industry in principle, we
sincerely hope its implementation will be broad-based enough to
prevent the emergence of yet another black oligarchy at the
expense of a genuine economic empowerment of the masses,"
said Dr Lionel Mtshali who leads the IFP parliamentary caucus in
KwaZulu-Natal and oversees the party's Finance and Economic
The IFP has voiced this criticism before
citing last year's R42 billion volume of BEE deals of which
two-thirds, or R25 billion, went to two individuals within the
As a political party that has preached the
gospel of free enterprise, the IFP is also concerned about the
popular perceptions of the current BEE charters.
"Too many people in South Africa are
looking to the BEE as the only way of securing a stake in the
economy. BEE should be a means of extending economic ownership,
not an end in itself," said Dr Mtshali.
Under the latest BEE tourism initiative,
30% of businesses in the tourism sector are to be owned by
blacks by 2014. "We in the IFP see this as an unnecessary
cap placed on black entrepreneurial flair. As far as business
and employment creation is concerned, sky should be the
limit," said Dr Mtshali.
"A possible solution is to stimulate
business and employment creation at all levels alongside the
BEE. The focus must be on small and medium enterprises."
The IFP's concerns are clearly shared by
the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry
(SAACI) which already expressed relief that the charter will not
target small businesses.
"It is heartening that the minister
heeded concerns of possible negative effects on the tourism
industry and announced that businesses with an annual turnover
of less than R5-million will be exempted of this
indicator," said the SAACI report.
Contact: Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902