The department of international relations and co-operation sparked outrage and fierce debate this week when it said the government would donate R50m to Cuba.
Deputy minister of international relations and co-operation Alvin Botes told a parliamentary portfolio committee the donation would help food security in that country amid US sanctions.
“I thought it is important that the parliamentary committee and yourself chair, and members to get briefed about the fact that we have committed to allocate an amount of R50m for special intervention purposes as it relates to the Cuban people, who have experienced real food security challenges, because of the extra territory sanctions that have been levelled against Cuba by the US,” said Botes.
Many slammed the move, saying the money could be better used at home to help the many South Africans living below the poverty line.
Others praised the donation, saying it will greatly help those in Cuba who are struggling.
Former president Jacob Zuma received Cuba’s highest award in 2010. In his acceptance speech he said ties between Cuba and SA “remain unbreakable because it was forged in the long and bitter struggle against apartheid”.
The country sent doctors to SA to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the SA National Defence Force forked out more than R200m to procure close to a million doses of interferon from Cuba to protect members of the defence force from Covid-19. This was done despite the drug not being registered with the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority and bypassing procurement laws. Some of the doses were later returned.
Source: Times Live