Dirco preparing to fight its case in court after R50m Cuban aid interdicted

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Minister Naledi Pandor. (Photo: DIRCO)
Minister Naledi Pandor. (Photo: DIRCO)
  • International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor and her department are preparing to head back to court.
  • This is after the Gauteng High Court granted AfriForum's interdict of government's R50 million aid donation to Cuba.
  • Chair of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Supra Mahumapelo, is "not happy" about the ruling.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, and her department are preparing to "return to court" after the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria interdicted government's planned R50 million donation to Cuba.

On Tuesday, Judge Brenda Neukircher granted the urgent interdict, pending the final outcome of an application to be instituted by AfriForum to review and set aside the decision to donate an amount of R50 million to the Cuban government, or the final outcome of proceedings to declare that the donation is unlawful and/or unconstitutional, News24 reported.

"The ministry, as well as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, have noted the interim order granted in the Pretoria High Court, pausing implementation of the humanitarian aid that South Africa had agreed it would provide to the Republic of Cuba," Pandor said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

"We are studying the judgment. It is an interim order. There will be a return to court in 20 days' time. We are consulting our legal representatives and preparing our heads of arguments.

"And 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 and Cooperation and no other department." 

Pandor added:

Nevertheless, we are preparing to return to court.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Supra Mahumapelo, had also noted Neukircher's ruling.

READ | SANDF's Cuban headache: R1.3bn for two contracts that offer zero value

The committee said it would study the judgment and respond at an appropriate time.

"Of course we are not happy, as this outcome will likely have major implications on other progressive international solidarity work that South Africa still has to do with countries like Cuba," Mahumapelo said, according to a statement.

The committee's responsibility would be to look at how the department would respond, particularly as it related to the Constitution and AfriForum's views on solidarity work and the relationship between the arms of state.

The committee will meet with Pandor on Friday as part of its oversight programme over the department.



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