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HomeMedico-LegalR50m medicines and food donation to Cuba interdicted pending review decision

R50m medicines and food donation to Cuba interdicted pending review decision

AfriForum has successfully interdicted government's planned R50m medicines and food donation to Cuba, reports News24. In a written judgment to the affected parties, Judge Brenda Neukircher of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) 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 the funds to Cuba, or the final outcome of proceedings to declare that the donation is unlawful and/or unconstitutional.

Neukircher said: “None of the respondents could claim that they would suffer any harm were the R50m donation to be put on hold while the matter was adjudicated on its complete merits.” Neukircher also ordered the Department of International Relations & Co-operation and National Treasury to pay the costs of the urgent application. The report says the judgment was unexpected as Neukircher last week warned that AfriForum’s application may have been premature and premised on shaky legal arguments.

Court documents show former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni proposed that SA support Cuba with long-term aid in light of “testy relations” with the US.

This emerged in a letter raised in the case. His proposal came in response to a letter from International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, who needed his endorsement in addition to hers so that SA could help Cuba. The country’s ambassador to SA wrote to Pandor asking for help in mid-2020.

Business Day reports that in response to the ruling, AfriForum campaign manager Reiner Duvenage welcomed the decision to stop “this unlawful and shameful donation”.

“We are optimistic that our review application will succeeed,” he said.

Pandor’s spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele reportedly told Business Day: “‘We are still studying the judgment and we will be advised accordingly on the way forward.”

Neukircher found AfriForum met the legal requirements for an urgent interdict pending the intended review application, and she was persuaded that irreparable harm would occur without it. To her, AfriForum showed Mboweni was aware of SA’s constrained fiscal position when he agreed with Pandor to back the pledge. She noted the matter concerned “substantial funds in anyone’s books” and the respondents gave no indication SA would ever recover the funds since the R50m was not a loan and would be given in the form of goods – food and medical supplies.

She recorded that her findings would not bind the court from hearing the intended review and “it may well be argued that the case made out by AfriForum is somewhat tenuous”, but it had met the legal threshold for an urgent interdict.


News24 article – Court halts govt’s planned R50m donation to Cuba (Open access)


BusinessDay Pressreader article – Mboweni ‘at centre of Cuba donation’


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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