DA says ANC is evidently divided on race-based Covid-19 funding

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni during a press briefing at the Department of International Affairs, 16 March 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

According to a DA MP, Yunus Carrim has said at a committee meeting the ANC was annoyed that Tito Mboweni has said he can not support the policy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said that the comments made on Tuesday at the joint meeting of the standing committee and select committees of finances by ANC members made it evident that the governing party was “divided on race-based Covid-19 funding”.

DA MP Dennis Ryder said during the meeting on Tuesday morning that “a heated exchange took place on the matter of race-based criteria on Covid-19 relief funding”.

According to Ryder, co-chair Yunus Carrim said at the meeting that the ANC was annoyed by comments made by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni at a meeting last week, when he reportedly “admitted that he could not support a policy position that discriminated against business owners based on their race”.

“When it came to documenting this in the committee’s report, there was heated debate,” Ryder said.

The DA MP said the chairperson of the select committee on appropriations Dikaledi Mahlangu distanced herself from Carrim’s comment in the chat section of the virtual meeting.

“While the Democratic Alliance in the meeting stressed the importance that the committee should clearly state in its report that racial criteria would not be used for relief funding, several of the ANC members doggedly refused to accept the changes that were proposed,” said Ryder.

He said Mboweni and Carrim’s comments made “evidently clear” that the ANC was divided on the matter and that some of its members “see it for what it is – an unconstitutional policy”.

Ryder said the DA rejected the policy and had approached the courts to seek urgent relief to prevent the unlawful use of B-BBEE status, race, gender, age or disability as criteria in relation to economic or other forms of relief or assistance.

“Although Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) may be a policy of government, the response to Covid-19 must be inclusive to ensure that jobs can be saved regardless of the race of the employer.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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