President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed suggestions that the government has made a donation of "medical material supplies" to the Cuban government, reports IoL. Ramaphosa said the SANDF was instead requested to transport a consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) that was donated by private individuals in South Africa to Cuba when it went to fetch its students studying there.
IoL reports that he was responding to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis after it was reported in August that South Africa had made generous donations of “medical material supplies” worth tens of millions of rand to the Cuban government. Cuban Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson had publicly thanked South Africa for assisting in the battle against Covid-19 in Cuba and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and the SANDF's General MJ Tyhalisi symbolically handed over the donation to Verson
In his written response, Ramaphosa explained that some of the SANDF students completed their studies in June 2020. "Due to travel restrictions in many parts of the world and because there were no commercial flights to or from Cuba, the SANDF chartered an aircraft from SAA to collect the students. The aircraft also carried a consignment of goods such as PPE, sanitary towels and toiletries to the SANDF students who had not completed their studies and were remaining in Cuba and to the South African medical students on behalf of the Department of Health."
IoL reports that Ramaphosa stated that the SANDF also received a request to transport a consignment of PPE that had been donated by private individuals in South Africa to the government of Cuba. "Since there was space on the aircraft, the SANDF agreed to carry this consignment," he said.
"Neither the SANDF nor the Department of Health has details related to the involvement of a senior office-bearer of a particular political party," Ramaphosa said.
Full IoL report