The DA calls on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)to clarify why the government is donating R50 million to Cuba.
The Deputy Minister of DIRCO, Alvin Botes, yesterday told the parliamentary portfolio committee on DIRCO that the money would be donated to Cuba to apparently alleviate food security issues due to sanctions imposed by the USA.
The ANC appears to be going out of its way to find new means to splurge money on Cuba.
Over the past decade, the ANC government has spent R1.4 billion just on agreements with the Cuban government to employ Cuban workers and service providers in South Africa. Money that could’ve been spent on creating job opportunities and alleviating food security issues back home.
The ANC government needs to reveal exactly where the R50 million donation comes from and how they will account for every cent the Cubans spent. This donation to Cuba is not the first of its kind, and it is time an independent audit is done across all government structures and spheres to ascertain exactly how much money has been donated and loaned to Cuba, the purposes of the loans, and how much has been paid back and written off. Particular attention must be paid to the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF), which was established to support development in African nations, and may have been previously used as a Cuban ATM.
In April 2021, Ipsos reported that “more than 40% of South Africans of all age groups were affected by hunger”. While South Africans are literally starving, and the desperation is increasing with the rising cost of living, the ANC government sees fit to donate R50 million to Cuba, supposedly to address the malnutrition there. If the Cuban government is anything like its South African counterpart, the Cuban people would be lucky if they saw a single crumb.
It should come as no surprise that their Cuban comrades take precedent over South Africans. After all, the ANC government continues to prize Cuban doctors, teachers and engineers above their more than qualified South African counterparts. In a country where the unemployment rate is staggering and perpetually on the increase, the ANC government would rather pay tribute to its obsession by employing a handful of Cubans above the hundreds of qualified South Africans able to do the job.
With President Cyril Ramaphosa admitting on tape that taxpayer money is abused for ANC benefit, the fact that South Africans are once again kicked when they are down to benefit Cuba is a sad state of affairs.
South Africa simply cannot afford to donate R50 million to Cuba. We do not have the money. And if we did, it should be spent on addressing the severe socioeconomic problems in this country. South Africa is drowning in debt, mismanagement and corruption, and the ANC government would rather throw our life raft to their Cuban crushes than kick free of the undertow.