Sakeliga is requesting official information from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) on the money it received from the Solidarity Fund and reserved for relief to businesses on the basis of race.
The request for information comes after the NEF’s press release of 12 July 2022, which described its relief efforts to businesses harmed by the KwaZulu Natal riots of 2021. According to the NEF, it had received R273m from the Solidarity Fund for purposes of its disbursements to enterprises “owned and managed by black entrepreneurs.”
Sakeliga is requesting a list of all disbursements made, the terms of thereof, and the terms (if any) attached to donations by the Solidarity Fund.
Sakeliga cautions that it is unwise and in many ways illegal to make such relief efforts conditional upon race. We point out that, by reserving aid to black-owned and black-managed companies, the NEF and the Solidarity Fund neglects – and in fact penalises – black and white employees, managers, and owners who work in co-owned, co-managed, and co-operated businesses. Forms of “aid” that are reserved on the basis of race, when other criteria are relevant, detracts from social cohesion and co-operation in South Africa.
Expecting the state, as opposed to other social formations, to solve or be the vehicle for solving problems, is far too common in South Africa. On the contrary, business and society require a spirit of independence and mutual aid, not state and state-aligned aid which always end up captured by the dominant ruling ideology.