The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) revealed earlier in the month that it would be providing financial aid to the country, much to the dismay of the likes of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Afriforum. Dirco has argued that its donation to South Africa’s sister nation was above board, despite criticism.
Having met this past weekend, several items were on the agenda at the ANC’s National Executive Committee meeting, including the donation.
“The NEC fully supports the government’s intention of providing humanitarian aid to Cuba at a timeof economiccrisis and suffering in that country. Cuba is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, caused primarily by the US economic embargo which is in its 61st year. This has made it virtually impossible to acquire medicinesandbasic food items”
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe
The ANC has further taken issue with the recent court challenge to South Africa donating to Cuba and has reaffirmed its commitment to “the principle of international solidarity.”
For now, Cuba won’t be getting that R50 million as the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of Afriforum, which had taken the matter to court. The lobby group has argued that South Africa is itself in financial trouble and in no position to provide aid to other countries.
“The NEC notes with disappointment the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court to temporarily interdict theDepartment of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) from providing humanitarian aid, intheformoffood and medicines to Cuba. It notes that the matter will be fully ventilated in court in the near future,” Mabe added.
Dirco has maintained that there is nothing untoward about the contribution and that it is well within its right to give the funds to Cuba. Minister Naledi Pandor had said she would be studying the judgement and that Dirco intends fighting the matter.
“We want to make it clear that the African Renaissance fund does not provide money to any beneficiary. We provide humanitarian aid, be it food, medical supplies or other forms of support. No money is provided and the funds lie within the budget of the department of international relations & cooperation and no other department,” it said in court papers.