DA seeks urgent answers over SANDF medical supply donations to Cuban government

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Department of Defense and Military Veterans to clarify the South African Defense Force (SANDF) donations of “medical material supplies” to the Cuban government.

The ANC government has yet again used millions in public money to seemingly benefit the Cuban government. At the beginning of South Africa’s Covid-19 emergency relief efforts, it came to light that the government would fork out almost half a billion on Cuban doctors to assist in local efforts. Now, it has emerged that the ANC government has donated essential health consumables in the middle of a national health emergency to the very same government.

It makes no sense that the South African government would make this donation to the Cuban government, when it cannot even provide the bare necessities to local health workers during this crisis.

Over the past four months, we have heard shocking reports of frontline health professionals downing tools in protest of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) at health facilities, doctors and nurses having to reuse PPE at public health facilities, healthcare professionals taking PPE home to clean them and the poor quality of essential health consumables available to doctors and nurses across the country.

Yet, despite these inefficiencies within our local health system, the government deems it appropriate to make these donations worth millions. It is for this reason that the DA is calling for transparency, the public must know the following details:

  • Why has the government made a donation of medical supplies to the Cuban government considering the challenges with medical supplies in South Africa?
  • Did the government take the lack of adequate medical supplies in South African health facilities into account when this donation was made?
  • Was the government satisfied that South Africa had appropriate and sufficient medical supplies by the time the donation was made?
  • How much did the donation cost the government and where was the money sourced from?

While the DA believes that South Africa has a responsibility to assist those nations in need during this unprecedented time, it cannot be at the expense of those doctors, nurses and health workers who risk their lives every day to keep South Africans safe and to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the DA has also noted a Facebook post by the Cuban embassy in which confirms that the ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, was present when the SANDF handed over of these questionable donations.

Not only is the DA disturbed by the presence of an ANC office-bearer, with no official role in Government or the military at this handover, we are also concerned that the ANC may have used military and state resources to make donations to the Cuban government.

It is for this reason that the DA calls on the Office of the Public Protector to investigate what this brazen attempt by the ANC to blur party and state lines. The Public Protector has a responsibility to investigate these allegations without fear or favour.

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