Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
10 May 2022
11:12 am

Court upholds AfriForum’s Cuba donation interdict

Citizen Reporter

But this might be a short lived victory as Dirco escalates the matter to the SCA and ConCourt.

Image created by Narissa Subramoney with iStock elements.

The Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has rejected a leave to appeal application by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) against an interdict obtained by lobby group AfriForum.

The interdict essentially prevents Dirco from donating R50 million to Cuba.

AfriForum defended Judge Neukircher’s original ruling and opposed the application on the grounds that the urgent interdict was granted on a temporary basis pending the outcome of the later review application.

It argued there was no reason to appeal an urgent court order since the government would have the opportunity to make its case during the review application.

“We are glad that the court upheld the interdict since it is simply unacceptable, irrational and illegal for the government to squander money that could be used to solve the myriad of problems in this country,” said AfriForum’s Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content, Reiner Duvenage.

Despite widespread condemnation of the donation, the government appears determined to support Cuba. Dirco has also filed leave to appeal applications at the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.

“Tuesday’s ruling, strengthens our optimism that the interdict will be upheld in the higher courts and that we will succeed with our review application to overturn the decision to donate the funds,” says Duvenage.

The government’s decision to support Cuba has baffled many, including economists.

Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt said R50 million was too small to make a noise about – but in a country with high unemployment, poverty and hunger the figures mattered as they added up in the long run.

“It’s all good and well you have to support your comrades in the liberation struggle in the old days, but that’s ancient history. You have to spend money where it matters the most: your country.”

Back in February, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, informed parliament’s portfolio committee on international relations about the relief refunds.

Botes said the donation was due to the socio-economic challenges faced by Cuba as it battles United States sanctions that have threatened food security in the country.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

Additional reporting by Eric Naki

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