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Tourism Transformation Fund to get complete overhaul

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“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.”

Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. File picture

THE CURRENT Tourism Transformation Fund is set to be restructured to make it more accessible and efficient to entrepreneurs.

This was announced by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane during her department’s budget vote speech on Tuesday.

She noted a 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 a number of programmes will now be implemented in efforts to accelerate transformation of the sector, stimulate investment and resource mobilisation.

“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.”

Some announcements are expected to be made in the coming week as the department redesigns the fund for entrepreneurs.

“The fund is capitalised to the tune of R77 million from its initial amount of R120 million after about R43 million of successful applications. We have adopted an approach premised on the assumption that transformation of the economy is a collective responsibility that has been embraced by all South Africans.

“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.”

Kubayi-Ngubane also gave an update on the Tourism Equity Fund saying their lawyers were studying reasons for an interdict after AfriForum and Solidarity filed a court application against the department.

She said the fund, which was launched in January, was 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 the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) and its commercial banking partner. However, the processing of applications has been interdicted. Once again, the effort to transform the economy to make it more inclusive is being frustrated.”