Cuba debt write-off a dubious decision: DA

2010-12-08 21:41

Cape Town - The government's decision to write off R1.1bn of debt owed by Cuba raised questions about the priorities and objectives of the Zuma administration, the DA said on Wednesday.

The gesture was however applauded by the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

Democratic Alliance foreign affairs spokesperson Kenneth Mubu said: "One has to wonder what the Zuma administration wishes to achieve by buying better relations with Cuba."

It was not clear what South Africa could gain by seeking to improve trade with the Caribbean island state "as it is well documented that Cuba possesses a failing economy" and lacked the capacity to become a big importer.

South Africa's total export volume to Cuba so far this year came to R1bn.

Mubu said Pretoria was not promoting a sensible foreign policy either by building ties with one of the world's last remaining socialist states.

"We are also not supporting our ostensibly principled foreign policy objectives by supporting a regime that relies on nepotistic promotion for national leadership instead of open and democratic participation."

South Africa in 2008 wrote off R900m of debt owed by Cuba.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced at the end of a two-day state visit to Cuba that the government was writing off R1.1bn in debt, and giving it guarantees and aid worth a few hundred million rand.

This includes a R40m donation to help Cuba buy seeds and fertiliser following a hurricane in 2008, R70m in credit guarantees and R100m from the African Renaissance Fund for purchases of South African goods.

Numsa called Zuma's announcement "a revolutionary gesture" and said it would revive relations borne out of Cuba's support for the South African liberation struggle.

"This gesture should serve as a basis for renewing our fraternal relations with Cuba, which was borne out of a concrete struggle for freedom and liberation of the oppressed people of our country and the southern African region."

  • Stefan - 2010-12-08 22:06

    Numsa obviously does not know that the oppressed people are still oppressed, only this time by blacks, and the normal shack dweller having nearly 0% economic freedom or opportunities to better themselves due to a failing education system ... nice! Viva the struggle ... Viva the Liberation and Revolutionary movements!

  • Neso - 2010-12-08 22:20

    Meanwhile Rome burns!

      Wonderboy - 2010-12-09 11:46

      I agree. SA gives money away and then gets aid from Europe. If they can afford to write off debt, they do not need handouts from other countries.

  • U1 - 2010-12-08 22:24

    Yes, Cuba is a shining example of democracy and freedom. Another proudly South African moment.

  • vorstercc - 2010-12-08 22:33

    Writing off debt is one thing, taking from their own people (who are still eagerly awaiting the promises of the ANC) and giving more to Cuba?? Come on!! I truly think it's time to take a stand, start a nationwide strike against paying taxes until some good comes from our hard earned money! Where will this insanity end? All in the name of freedom and struggle? Look around ... I'll gladly take my tax money and physically go build houses for those who need it first, or supply medical needs, schooling, food ... the basics that does not end up in the hands of the previously oppressed. So sad.

      Wow! - 2010-12-09 07:51

      It does look like time for us to manage our own tax money - to insure that we improve South Africa. Right now the situation is being thoroughly abused by a government that fosters self entitlement of it's politi-bureau and to hell with the rest. It is absoluely absurd that we shuld grant Cuba write-offes of approximately R2 billion. Finny how NUMSA find this acceptable, whilst trying to milk the businesses that do growthis country.

  • Francois - 2010-12-08 22:40

    SA government could have built 10 000 houses with the money or created 10 000 jobs or fixed infrastructure to support SA growth or... As if it is not enough that they reward incompetence in SA by bailing out failing and fraudulant enterprises (parastatals, emerging farmers, municipalities, comrades etc etc), they also bail out the failed nepotistic restrictive regime that is Cuba with our tax payer's money.

  • Proudly SA - 2010-12-08 22:47

    This is a very stupid idea and clearly sinister motives. A huge amount of good can be done for our own people with R1bn. How do we have clear conscience demanding funds and relief from Western countries and then giving handouts to rogue countries such as Cuba

  • tdk25 - 2010-12-08 22:52

    "as it is well documented that Cuba possesses a failing economy and lacked the capacity to become a big importer" .isn't that a good enough reason to wipe off their debt DA???

      durbsviking - 2010-12-08 23:16

      Then there was never enough reason to loan them the money in the first place. Ridiculous - we are struggling with the most basic of 1st world services here, such as health and education, with the private sector now putting up the cash (Carte Blanche giving money to hospitals, people like me privately educating my kids and avoiding dying in many of our public hospitals) - yet we can support Cuba. It is simply illogical.

      green_goblin - 2010-12-09 08:04

      TDK25 you seriously going with that as your argument to write off the debt? we cannot afford to build new schools or hospitals but we can write off debts to that amount with no advantage of making it back (in new imports or trade ties). I think something else is happening here maybe a bit of money laundering, maybe the ANC writes of the debt that Cuba owes South Africa and in return a "donation" is made into the ANC's private accounts to say thank you.

      PB - 2010-12-09 10:53

      No, tdk25, it is NOT a good enough reason. In the ANC Government's own words, Cuba was able to repay the debt, it just chose not to. This on top of the R900 million written off in 2008. So OK, say we play the role of the nice idiotic African country who claim that we DO NOT have the money to pay OUR OWN teachers, police etc. a living wage. We also DO NOT have the cash to pay OUR OWN farmers for the farms that was in true Father Xmas style, given to totally ignorant "famers" to totally f'up existing pruducing farms. So yes, obviously it makes such wonderful sense to go on top of this, and offer Cuba millions more in debt for the next couple of years - which we will then again have to write off. The Credit Act was brought in to stop South Africans who can not afford extra debt to dig themselves deeper into the dwang. You would imagine that the government would apply the same standards to KNOWN debt defaulters. But then again, it is only the ANC and there obviously was a huge payback into the extremely deep pockets of the ANC and/or ZUMA+Cronies Fund (Z+CF). Even if and when those facts comes to light, NOTHING is going to happen to the ANC or members of the Z+CF - same as what happened in the weapons crap deal.

      pop101 - 2010-12-09 11:05

      It is well documented that I don't know how I'm going to pay my bank load next you think that is good enough reason for the bank to just right it off tdk25?

  • justice4all - 2010-12-08 22:59

    Whoever advised Zuma to do this is a complete ahole. What is the point of selling goods to people who don't pay you and the irony is that they will now be paying us for new goods, with money we have given them. My 8 year could see how stupid this is. Just to look good to Cuba. This government has no clue how to govern. Cuba has honestly very little to offer SA and how can the ANC justify dealing with a country who has no free speach, democracy etc... There must be some decent ANC party members, so please stand up and take the helm of your stinking ship. Get it!! Because you look like a bunch of thieving incompent scumbags to most educated people

  • Chops - 2010-12-08 22:59

    How come we lent Cuba any money in the first place, not the brightest decision, and now we have to write it off. Typical of our dysfunctional ANC government.

  • charles - 2010-12-08 23:10

    W T F, i lost my house becuase i was behind with 2000 odd rand, these people are on a gravy train (you know who u are), this train is going to de-rail, u know the saying, charity begins at home. why worry about 10 000 homes etc, i have what i want, many wives, many children, grandchildren,enjoy the ride.

  • william.botha - 2010-12-08 23:15

    SA borrows money from the IMF to give away money to Fidel's Cuba. A bit of a political ponzi if you ask me.

  • Robert - 2010-12-08 23:38

    I think this debt if paid and not written off would have contributed towards the creation of decent jobs for South Africans. I wonder who our beloved president has in heart, his own people or the Cubans? It's not as if we are a developed economy, our unemployment rate is proof for that.

      PB - 2010-12-09 10:55

      It is not in his heart that our beloved president feels anything - it is in his (and chommies') pockets.

  • - 2010-12-08 23:46

    Apparently we sold them R1.1bn worth of diesel engines. I wonder if there were any military vehicles attached to those diesel engines...? - 2010-12-09 00:14

      Anyway, say they did buy R1.1bn worth of engines (as stated here: How much does an engine cost? Lets say R10m per engine, WTF do need 100 000 engines for? - 2010-12-09 00:30

      make that 100 engines.

      green_goblin - 2010-12-09 08:05

      LOL, Like your way of thinking :-)

  • - 2010-12-09 00:01

    The award JZ received was obviously not very cheap.

  • Jonathan - 2010-12-09 00:01

    Ladies and Gentleman, The ANCYL -

  • Fred - 2010-12-09 00:32

    Who does Zuma think he is? This is taxpayers money he is giving away, not his pocket money. Isn't it time that our leaders grow up? We get absolutely no benefit from Cuba, just year after year we write off what they owe us. Surely that money could buy a few houses for those who don't have, but no problem, this may help by losing the ANC a few votes, and in that case maybe they should give away more money !!!!!

  • mcrous11 - 2010-12-09 05:45

    dear Mr. Zuma,please right off the R2000.00 I owe SARS due to the system.

  • Graham - 2010-12-09 05:58


  • AJ - 2010-12-09 06:01

    Yeah sure - when we benefit from trade with Cube to the tune of 1 rand over 1.1 billion rand, give me a shout...

  • Zion - 2010-12-09 06:27

    No problem, We the tax payer will gladly make up the loss. For friend and country that is the least we can do. You see Julius and gang, Communism just failed again.

      PB - 2010-12-09 10:57

      No it didn't - Juliaaas and co obviously stands to gain from this as well, otherwise they would have been making noises about this by now.

  • Mr.Glum - 2010-12-09 06:37

    Another taxpayer donation. The government cannot even fund Eskom, fix our sewerage plants, or create jobs, but they can pour our money down another country's financial drain. Cigar anyone?

  • jiamalunga - 2010-12-09 06:50

    So much for all the young men who died in the bush war to keep communism out of this country. All in vain....

  • csephton - 2010-12-09 07:07

    This is bizarre. South African's are all suffering from 'boiling-frog' syndrome.

  • Lionel - 2010-12-09 07:09

    That is a write-off of R2bn in two years, absolutely shocking. May be the R1.1bn write-off is in exchange for a lifetime supply of free Cuban cigars for the ANC NEC. The ANC where given a mandate by 67% of the electrorate to do as they please and boy are they fulfilling this mandate.

  • SuperCal - 2010-12-09 07:22

    I dont care what any of you say but please dont link this to Zumas cattle farm that he was given as a present by Comrade Raul....there will suddenly be a few more private trips and a few official trips to Cuba every year....but we wont know as this is a state secret and a mater of national security.....via ANC

  • Gen-Mewmew - 2010-12-09 07:26

    lol cuba is probly taking the anc for a ride and their too dumb to know it.

  • HAggardGnome - 2010-12-09 07:31

    Maybe the trolls that went over got kick-backs! Would not surprise me at all!

  • Nico - 2010-12-09 07:35

    Ok if we (ANC) write off R1 BN ,the you must give me Zuma and comrades R30mil in back hands ok ! OK Done ,Sweet Deal ! Let the poor suffer more !

  • robertgunning - 2010-12-09 07:36

    Cuba, being one of the most repressive regimes on the planet and we are giving them freebies and treating them with gifts?!!??! SA is hell bent on implementing communism & socialism and anyone they can get on the bandwagon they will get... North Korea, China, Russia and Cuba..... It's almost as though we look for the most evil and embrace their criminality.

  • W H Kotze - 2010-12-09 07:38

    "This gesture should serve as a basis for renewing our fraternal relations with Cuba, which was borne out of a concrete struggle for freedom and liberation of the oppressed people of our country and the southern African region." Then surely, the strugglers and the socalled oppressed, and not the tax payer, should by footing the bill.

  • Limpopoist - 2010-12-09 07:42

    Whats up with DA,they are the first to critisize but quick support such initiative.DA must gte their facts rights ,to me they are the same as ANC

      rudicsr - 2010-12-09 07:56

      The weed in Limpopo is obviously very potent.

      green_goblin - 2010-12-09 08:11

      where does the DA support this initiative? they are asking to see why this was done when the money could have clearly been put to better use locally. Can you please elaborate on your insight.

      Ockert - 2010-12-09 08:30

      WEll your province you obviously come from -- says it all.

      PB - 2010-12-09 11:00

      WTF???? Sorry, I can't understand what you are on about, but as rudicsr said, the weed in Limpopo is obviously of superior quality...

  • Viv - 2010-12-09 07:43

    Good relations with Cuba = cheaper prices for high grade cocaine and the good Cuba cigars. But typical of our government. We are in need of cash to save all the government run businesses i.e. Eskom but ag dont worry you dont have to pay back your loan. Monkey business

  • umlaut - 2010-12-09 07:54

    Take a guess----They probably agreed years ago not to pay back the money and it was seen as payback by the african national catastrophy for favours. Zuma must call for a national referendum before he can one sidedly decide to squander SA money. They are irresponsible.

  • Krush - 2010-12-09 08:11

    How can we write off debt when we are in huge amounts of debt ourselves and our people are struggling with unemployment? Thats right ANC, steal the tax payers money and then let other countries benefit from it too, but not your own people. Why? Because you got a certificate? Cuba is known for it's corruption. What is going on between Zuma and Castro? I smell a big fat rat.

      Mahasana - 2010-12-09 08:45

      You will never know the relationship between ANC and Cuba until you become ANC member.You are now free to write sh.....t because of ANC.You didn't question the Nats government.Its corruption was never reported.What was SADF doing in Angola and Namibia.You now own properties along the coast and in the CBD.Most of you didnt buy them,you inherited from your parents who also received them free of charge.The cuba government supported us in exile.We were able to infiltrate through arpatheit froces in the borders because of Cuba.Well done Comrade JZ,this is long overdue.Please don't forget other countries.You have shown a political leadership.

      AverageJack - 2010-12-09 09:14

      @Mahasana: That's fine Mahasana...however are you certain that the poorest of the poor will agree with this sentiment...should that warm feeling deep inside comfort them when they go to bed without food, or an education or proper medical care - all things that this money could have provided. And are you sure Cuba supported the liberation stuggle because they are simply really good people? Did it maybe not have anything to do with their relationship with Russia and the fight to keep communism alive? Just 2 questions to think about...use it don't use it...whatever.

      pop101 - 2010-12-09 10:53

      Mahasana, Cuba were in Angola to support the MPLA (also supported by Russia who provided a lot of weopons to the MPLA), which was one of the three factions in Angola subscribed to the communist ideology. The other two were the FNLA and UNITA, who were pro West. The FNLA was "supported" by the USA, while UNITA were supported by the old SA Government. The ANC was in Angola only because it was one of the places where they could set up "training" bases to torture and kill potential spies. The same as within Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Cuba weren't in Angola to liberate the ANC and the oppressed SA population, they were in Angola to expand and defend their communist ideologies. And they were lucky Ethiopia saved their behinds when the host country voted against the SADF being in Angola right at the last minute (after the vote has been split 50/50).

      bill - 2010-12-09 10:56

      Mahasana ,Your comrade JZ is as thick as pigsh*t and was charged with fraud and rape.Impressive credentials! No wonder he associates with the Castros.They are the only specimans outside of Africa that understand his base instincts.

  • Qualberg - 2010-12-09 08:15

    And the ANC kickback????? The ANC will get a nice donation back from CUBA . JC should be procecuted for "washing" government money back to the ANC. ANC> A Notorious Criminal

  • hjlombard - 2010-12-09 08:17

    It would be interesting to know how this money was actually spent. Don't be surprised if Zuma and his communist friends took a back-hand on this one

  • umlaut - 2010-12-09 08:29

    The IMF will in future surely be more reluctant (and rightfully so) to make funds available to SA, if this is the way they administer funds. The anc doesn't know that they are running a business, and not a Bill Gates charity organization. Shame and SA had to have the bad luck of getting a Zuma in charge. He is running SA into the gutter. This is definately a type of treason against SA---it is hurting SA. Let Cuba go and borrow that money from Iran or Korea or Brazil or from his other buddies. Why does this goevernment allow other disfunctional countries to pull us down with them?. The next write off is Mugabwe country our disfunctional racist parasitic neighbour. SA entertains bad "friends".

  • pk007_za - 2010-12-09 08:45

    How can the ANC write off 2 billion Rand, and leave its constituents impoverished, without a leading education system, little chance of jobs and still no roof over their head (other than scavenged plastic, wood or tin? ). The Myopic thinking of the ANC as nothing more than a self-serving money press for the "elected" elite is sickening.

  • kjt - 2010-12-09 08:58

    Mighty fine gesture when we have millions of people living below the bread line in our own country.So who is next , the Angolans , Russians , China ?anyone else want to take a bite out of us ? Why not get the Cubans to ask the Chinese for the money to pay us poor South Africans ? This would be the best deal !

  • Rogue_rep - 2010-12-09 10:44

    I don't understand the mentality of the majority.Why are they helping other countries and imposing heavy taxation on the South African working class. We have a crumbling infrastructure and they still give billions away. Why is it that almost every state or country that is run by a black ruling party, that state or country inevitably just crumbles to dust. Maintenance is never on any of their agendas, just hoarding and spending at the top.

      PB - 2010-12-09 13:07

      Couldn't have put it better myself. I guess the majority have the colonial feeling that "someone" (= S.A. Taxpayer = mostly us non-ANC folks) will eventually take up the slack and do what needs to be done - such as the ratepayers organisation in Sannieshof did.

  • retief.devilliers - 2010-12-09 10:51

    Just imagine how many homes/jobs etc could have been created in SA with this money?

  • 1stcase - 2010-12-09 10:54

    I think people are making too much of this, writing of bad debt is not uncommon. The World Bank has in the past written of African debt. The questions that the DA should be asking is when were this debt incurred and what did we do to recover some of the money. What People should highlight to the ANC, is the fact that CUBA might be praying on RSA sympathy, because they help them during the struggle. Or what people should ask the President whether this was part of the agreement during the struggle.

      PB - 2010-12-09 13:19

      1stcase, maybe you are not feeling the effect of years of neglect of our infrastructure etc. which is why you have this childish argument. Yes maybe it is common for AFRICAN debt to be written off, because we are used to be forced to make excuses for the Previously Disadvantaged. When are they going to step up to the plate and take what is there and make it BETTER, not burn down and trash and in general be a drain on society as a whole? The rest of the world don't expect to be bailed out again and again and not take responsibility for what has been given to them. Interesting your point that it is AFRICAN DEBT that keeps on being written off. Other countries also have bad agricultural land and drought to content with. If you look at Israel, their agriculture is amazing - and that with mostly the same dry situations that you see in the rest of Africa. What has made the difference is the will to succeed. Is it maybe that we are so used to accept that anything

      allie - 2010-12-10 20:08

      This is how i do it.I divide the 2000,000,000 by the 5,000,000 taxpayers and get R400.This is the mistake i make on my taxreturn.Makes me feel much better.I refuse to pay for zuma`s fuc-en stuped struggle

  • Pleb - 2010-12-10 11:15

    What do you expect ??? Can't think of any other politician ever who is quite as dumb as this one - he is an embarrassment and only got to where he is by defrauding & lying

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