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Judgment in bid to stop government’s R50m Cuban donation to be delivered next week

Published Mar 17, 2022

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THE North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, is due to deliver its ruling on AfriForum’s urgent application to stop the government’s donation of R50 million to Cuba.

On Thursday, Judge Brenda Neukircher said she understood that the matter was urgent and promised to deliver her ruling next week.

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AfriForum wants the high court to stop the payment of the millions by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF), pending a review of the move.

The R50m is part of R71m rolled over from the 2020/21 financial year.

The lobby group’s advocate, Johan Hamman, told the court that a proper case had been made for the interim relief of the retention of the funds.

“A large group of individuals are affected by this decision,” said Hamman when asked about AfriForum’s locus standi in bringing the application.

Judge Neukircher asked: The R71m cannot be disbursed in any other means other than ARF. If I find that the R71m is correctly retained, isn’t that the end of your case?”

In response, Hamman said: “We just seek the preservation of the funds.”

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He said Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana had informed AfriForum that he would consider South Africa’s fiscal position in future when deciding on assistance to foreign countries.

However, AfriForum wants Godongwana to consider the country’s fiscal constraints now.

Judge Neukircher said the government stated that no decision had been made on the matter.

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”You cannot get a declarator or interdict for something that has not happened. Is this application not premature? You can’t give an interdict in vacuo (in a vacuum),” she said.

In its court papers, AfriForum said the decision was unreasonable and wholly insensible, has angered and frustrated many South Africans who were aware that all was not well in the country in terms of important constitutional obligations and the state of the economy.

The government has defended its decision, saying it was responding to a call for humanitarian assistance by the Caribbean island.

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