President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed suggestions that the government has made a donation of “medical material supplies” to the Cuban government.
Ramaphosa said the SANDF was instead requested to transport a consignment of PPE that was donated by private individuals in South Africa to Cuba when it went to fetch its students studying there.
He was responding to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis after the City Press reported in August that South Africa had made generous donations of “medical material supplies” worth tens of millions of rand to the Cuban government.
The report was sparked after Cuban Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson publicly thanked South Africa for assisting in the battle against Covid-19 in Cuba.
According to a statement in the Cuban embassy’s Facebook page, the second donation – consisting of medical materials and supplies for health facilities – was loaded on a special flight of SAA on July 3.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and the SANDF’s General MJ Tyhalisi symbolically handed over the donation to Verson at OR Tambo International Airport.
At the time the report surfaced, there was no official comment from the government and ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe could not confirm who made the donation which included medicines, protective equipment and other medical supplies.
In his parliamentary questions, Hill-Lewis asked the relevant details to the donation of PPE by the government to Cuba and why Magashule played a significant leading role at the handover of the equipment.
Ramaphosa insisted that the South African government had not made any donation of personal protective equipment to the government of Cuba.
“Neither the SANDF nor the Department of Health has details related to the involvement of a senior office-bearer of a particular political party,” he said.
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