The department of international relations and cooperation’s (Dirco) attempt to remove the interdict against donating money to Cuba is far from over.
On Tuesday, the High Court in Pretoria rejected a leave to appeal application lodged by Dirco against an interdict obtained by AfriForum preventing it from donating R50 million to Cuba.
In March, AfriForum obtained an interim basis interdict to stop Dirco from donating a reported R50 million to Cuba until a review application process later this year.
AfriForum campaign officer for strategy and content Reiner Duvenage said the organisation was glad the court upheld the interdict.
“The government is proving so desperate to donate the much-needed funds to Cuba that it has also lodged leave to appeal applications at the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court,” he added.
Duvenage said it was bizarre that the state appealed against an interim interdict.
“We will oppose it every time and fight even harder for the review application,” he said.
Duvenage said the funds should be used for various other emergencies, such as assisting flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We are staring load shedding in the eyes and the government can’t even provide electricity to its citizens, yet they want to donate money to their ideological friends. That is both irrational and illegal,” Duvenage said.
Columnist and business observer Michael Avery said South Africans were labouring under the weight of record-high fuel prices, food prices and electricity tariffs.
“The donation is a common cause of the ANC and Cuba’s special historical friendship, but for that [party relationship] to be first conflated with the South African government and second given form through the donation of this so-called gift of R50 million, while a record number of South Africans cannot find work, is unconscionable,” he said.
Economist Dawie Roodt said the donation to Cuba was irrational and unaffordable. Roodt said there was no rational reason why South Africa would donate R50 million to Cuba because Cuba’s per capita income was double that of SA.
“The average Cuban wealth is twice as much as a South African’s,” he said.
“How on earth does a poorer country give money to a richer country?” Roodt said if the amount of R50 million was invested, it would generate R10 million in interest annually.
Professor in political science Amanda Gouws said Cuba was not struggling economically more than before.
Gouws also questioned Dirco’s response that the donation would be in resources and not money. What resources, she asked.
SA had people who were so poor they are starving, she said. Dirco was yet to respond at the time of going to press.