On Wednesday, the civil rights organization AfriForum submitted an application in terms of the Act on the Promotion of Access to Information (Paia) to the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), in which comprehensive records of all donations received by the South African government over the past 20 years made to Cuba, be requested.
This decision comes after it was reported that R120 million was wasted by the Department of Defense after South African students were sent to Cuba for medical training at great cost.
“The total cost of the medical training in Cuba is 136% more expensive than it would be in South Africa,” says Charné Mostert, campaign officer at AfriForum.
“AfriForum requests transaction dates of each donation, a thorough explanation of the purpose or reason for each donation, any correspondence or documentation related to the decision-making process regarding the donations and a clear indication of where the funds for the donations came from.”
The application comes against the background of great resistance to the South African government’s planned R50 million donation to Cuba in 2022.
“AfriForum has successfully frozen this donation and the organization is currently awaiting the verdict in a follow-up case that will attempt to finally stop this donation.
“AfriForum will continue to fight wasteful spending by the South African government. This is a government that does not hesitate to donate millions to its Cuban friends, while it cannot even afford to keep its own lights on.
“The government cannot maintain cardinal departments due to the lack of funds, but can comfortably donate millions? It simply cannot work,” says Mostert.
“The relationship between the Cuban government and the South African government is a growing tax money dump. Decisions are made based on monetary value, not on the best interests of the country or its citizens.
“It is shameful that it is more important for the government to enrich its foreign friends than to solve urgent issues on its own soil.”