Home South African SA pushes ahead with humanitarian aid to Cuba

SA pushes ahead with humanitarian aid to Cuba

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Minister Naledi Pandor said Cuba has requested assistance with regards to food shortages, especially products such as powdered milk, rice, canned meat, canned fish, cooking oil and beans.

Minister for International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor. File picture

CAPE TOWN – South Africa is still pushing ahead with its plans to donate humanitarian aid and health items to the Cuban people.

This emerged when International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor was responding to parliamentary questions from DA leader John Steenhuisen.

In April, Independent Media reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa will donate humanitarian aid and health items, not money, to Cuba in response to a request for humanitarian assistance.

This has prompted Steenhuisen to ask Pandor the exact details of the humanitarian aid and health items that will be donated.

He also enquired about the names of companies that will be contracted to provide the humanitarian aid to Cuba and whether steps will be taken to ensure the specified companies will not pay kickbacks to any persons or political organisations for access to the contracts.

In her written response, Pandor said Cuba has requested assistance with regards to food shortages, especially products such as powdered milk, rice, canned meat, canned fish, cooking oil and beans.

She also said that the African Renaissance Fund advisory committee recommended R50 million for urgent humanitarian assistance for the procurement of South African food and medical items.

“The minister of Finance, in a letter dated August 13, 2021, gave concurrence to release an amount of R50 million from the African Renaissance Fund to fund the requested humanitarian assistance to Cuba,” she said.

“The procurement process on this matter has not been finalised and is currently on hold as per the interdict by the Gauteng High Court on March 22, 2022.”

The court refused to grant leave to appeal by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation against an interdict obtained by civil rights group AfriForum to stop the R50m donation.

Pandor previously said the government was prepared to act in solidarity with the Cuban people.

She noted that the Cuban nation had stood shoulder to shoulder with combatants in the Struggle for freedom.

“It would be unjustified and unethical to turn our backs on their hour of need,” she said.

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