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Dirco loses appeal bid over Cuban donation interdict

The SA government has lost a bid to appeal a ruling granting AfriForum permission to interdict it from donating R50m to Cuba. The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) dismissed government’s application, with costs, in a judgment delivered virtually on Tuesday (10 May), News24 reports.

Judge Brenda Neukircher said that after “careful consideration of the application for leave to appeal, the comprehensive heads of arguments”, and the arguments presented before the court, she was convinced that granting leave to appeal was “not in the interests of justice”. She ruled: “I am of the view that it is in the interest of justice to refuse leave to appeal, given the circumstances. I am, therefore, of the view that the prerequisite set out in section 17 (1) of the Superior Court’s Act has not been met, and the order that I make is the following, the application for leave to appeal is dismissed with cost.”

Advocate Hephzibah Rajah, who represented the Department of International Relations & Co-operation (Dirco), laid out numerous fundamental reasons why her client believed the judge had erred.

The main bone of contention raised by Rajah was that the judgment grossly interfered with the principle of the separation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution, according to the News24 report. She argued that it was the sole prerogative of the executive, and not the courts, to conduct international relations. She added that when the court granted the interdict judgment in March, it therefore usurped Dirco’s rightful powers, and that alone warranted a granting of leave to appeal the judgment. She further argued that the executive decision to assist Cuba with humanitarian aid had not been concluded, yet the court had found it fitting to meddle in the matter.

Rajah said such a move amounted to premature judgment, as no imminent harm could be demonstrated by the applicant AfriForum. AfriForum's legal representative, Johan Hamman, argued that when it came to the issue of the separation of powers, the Constitution was the supreme law for all three arms of government, and that the court was entitled to enter into the arena and police unlawful actions, such as the rolling over of funds to finance the donation.


News24 article – Court dismisses govt's application to appeal AfriForum interdict on R50m Cuban donation (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Head scratching over donation of SA medical supplies to Cuba


Cubaʼs health system in acute distress as COVID cases soar


Ramaphosa: ‘Private individuals’ not govt that donated medical supplies to Cuba



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