SA signs aid, loan treaty with Cuba

2012-02-03 16:34

Cape Town - South Africa on Friday formalised a R350m economic aid agreement with Cuba.

At a ceremony in Pretoria, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Cuba's ambassador to South Africa, Angela Villa, signed a document that both said was aimed at stimulating trade between the two countries.

The signing is a follow-up to President Jacob Zuma's state visit to Cuba in 2010, at which time he announced an economic help package to that country.

The package comprises two direct grants and a repayable loan.

The grants include R40m for the purchase of seeds, R5m of which must be spent on the South African market; and a $14m "solidarity grant".

The loan, for R210m includes credit lines in two tranches of R70m and R140m.

Responding to a question, Davies said the loan had been provided at a "lowish interest rate", but did not specify a percentage.

The signing of the agreement comes on the 50th anniversary of the imposition of the 1962 United States trade embargo on Cuba, an event which Villa said had caused great hardship for the Cuban people.

Davies said South Africa owed Cuba a "great debt" for the sacrifices it had made to help South Africa during the apartheid years, especially its efforts in Angola.

The two countries had enjoyed friendly relations since 1994. Trade between them totalled R73m in 2010.

He said there were "huge" possibilities for increasing this, particularly in the field of medicines and vaccines where Cuba was a recognised world leader.

Villa hailed the agreement as "a new beginning in our economic and trade relations".

In 2010, South Africa wrote off two debts, to the tune of R926m and R121m owed by Cuba.

  • Reinier - 2012-02-03 16:40

    WTF ??? Bleed my beloved Country

      Dirk - 2012-02-03 17:23

      Those who actually took time (a challenge, I know) to listen to Zumas recent sppeech, will know that he re-affirmed his alliance with all the regimes old communist allies- that is where SA is moving, despite the medias determination to hide it from the public.

      David Wallace - 2012-02-03 17:36

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but we seem to be paying tribute to a country we fought against in angola. They were not an ally.

      Max - 2012-02-03 17:44

      Dishing out loans to Swaziland and Cuba. To hell with service delivery.

      Albertus - 2012-02-03 17:49

      Davies is a disgrace to his race.

      Albertus - 2012-02-03 17:52

      We MUST stop paying taxes.

      Sedick - 2012-02-03 18:01

      Yep, it is easy giving away money that you did not work for. Trade between SA and Cuba was R70m, but we have written of loans to them to the tune of R1billion, and now give them another R300m, which will never be repaid......

      David Wallace - 2012-02-03 18:05

      You can't stop paying tax. What are you going to do. Go to shoprite and tell them you want your bill to be less 14 %? They'll laugh at you.

  • Wilhelm Jones - 2012-02-03 16:43

    We cant even help our own people,this is the dumbest thing i've seen all day!!and it's been a loong day!

  • David - 2012-02-03 16:43

    This proves that our Government is nuts,and that Davies should not be let loose.

      Michele - 2012-02-03 23:35

      I doubt that it was Davies call, looksto me like he is just the messenger for this sorry affair.

  • Ben - 2012-02-03 16:59

    We are in no position to help other countries and trade with Cuba wont make up for this as they are in no better shape.

      Ian - 2012-02-03 17:33

      TRUE But you know there is a payback time for any LIBERATION MOVEMENT involved in any so called STRUGGLE to there allies MPLA/CUBANS in Angola, SWAPO South West Africa,Frelimo Mozambique,ZANU Zimbabwe,Chinese Eastern Africa

  • Rob - 2012-02-03 17:04

    Maybe this is another one of those deals where Cuba had a loan from SA. Will never pay it back, they never expected to. Now they get a donation so that they can. However you look at it one wonders what exactly the R345 million (after seeds!) will be used for....and how much of it will pay for administrative overheads!!!!!!!

  • Alex - 2012-02-03 17:08

    So Limpopo is bust but we can give this dictatorship loans???

  • nananatakemehome - 2012-02-03 17:14

    Oh thank goodness we are helping our friends, who stood by our side when mortar and grenades were flying about. We need listen not to those who were sipping tea and champagne, and paying taxes to the apartheid state to crush our efforts at liberation and obtaining our freedom. No amount of money will ever equal what our friends in Cuba deed for us to help us gain thebfreedoms we now so freely and heartedly enjoy. Viva Cuba, long live the Cuba people and their selfless and visionary leadership. Long Live el Commadante Fidel. Vanceremos. Victoria Siempre!

      Clifton - 2012-02-03 17:21

      Thank you for the humor.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-02-03 19:31

      Funny! So he supposedly fought for the freedoms of non-White South Africans while oppressing his own people? My history is suddenly unusually hazy but weren't there 2 factions of the ANC during the war? There were those who were allies of SWAPO, the Angolan government & Cuba and those who fought side by side with Whites, in our Apartheid military, against them. Maybe I'm including myself with Davies, Villa & nananatakemehome when I say that someone needs a history lesson.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-02-04 11:14

      nanabanana, you miss the point. You aspire to these glorious countries that are shining lights of communism and yet little old SA has to bail them out. Hmmm, I think there is a lesson here about the success of communism...

  • Judith - 2012-02-03 17:14

    Our priorities are completely skewed - our communities need that kind of support. Charity begins at home

  • Laurie - 2012-02-03 17:17

    Another joke. GIVING (that's what it is if loans are not repaid) money to Cuba when our Government cannot feed, educate or care for its own citizens is reckless in the extreme. Maybe many of our hungry and unemployed citizens will think a little harder when they next have an opportunity to vote.

  • Alan - 2012-02-03 17:20

    remeber SA wrote off a massive "loan" a couple of years back. Will they pay this back? This is not a loan it's a cash gift. I wonder how many millions the Cubans will put aside in some anc banck accounts????

  • Graham - 2012-02-03 17:33

    Cuba is no longer communist - have you been there recently? Like China it is moving towards capitalism..

      Albertus - 2012-02-03 17:53

      Dream on, commie.

      Graham - 2012-02-03 20:49

      I am not a communist and am guessing you have not been there recently?!

      Thandiwe - 2012-02-03 20:59

      I am not an ANC voter and deplore this move, but Cuba is becoming more capitalist - Raul Castro is different to his father...

  • flysouth - 2012-02-03 17:48

    Governments are supposed to act in the interests of the country governed - one must ask whose interests are served by this deal. Certainly not the interests of SA trade - R73 million per year - that is nothing at all and in any event Cuba, a backward nation, industrially, can produce little that we would need here! Certainly not the interests of SA in the eyes of the US, the biggest economy in the world - they will see this as a snub, since their embargo continues until Cuba moves away from it's long-held Communist ideology. So what is left? - only payback for some supposed support during the struggle - but 20 and more years on, the SA government should not continue to pay off such countries, at the expense of taxpayers. Of course it all fits perfectly with the ANC's hidden plan to make of SA a Communist country - even though Communism is supposedly dead (like hell it is!).

  • Zion - 2012-02-03 18:24

    Did the South African government not write off a loan of aboutn 1billion rands, Repayable l0oan that is what normal loans are all about. not i8n this case though despite the terms. Repayable? Cuba is practically bankrupt. R14 million solidarity grant: How about a R14 million once off tax rebate for SOUTH aFRICANS Lowish interest rates: Interest rates in Sunny South Africa are on the rise. Cuba did nothing note worthy in the bush war in Angola other than retreat. Fire some rounds on a Stalin organ then beat a hasty retreat with SWAPO and talk big afterwards. A new end to a New South Africa.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-02-03 19:17

    its about time mzansi gives back. this country not only supported freedom in sa, but also contributes in supplying us with highly trained doctors who rivals those of us and saudis. big up.

  • Ian - 2012-02-03 21:01

    the play play money loving commies throwing tax payers money to the has been commies, what a joke

  • Rocky - 2012-02-04 04:11

    The present "gesture", a replica of the anc stupidity in 2008!!!!!! What has happened to these funds the anc so willingly gave Cuba????? Read:

  • srapea - 2012-02-04 07:26

    Race relations :) Lets move on people, away with resentment...

  • David - 2012-02-05 04:24

    This is a disgrace and a betrayal of the poor people of South Africa. Writing off huge debts and granting additional financial aid at the expense of the South Afridan tax payer by the ANC government is betrayal of the trust the electorate gave to them. Housing, job creation, social problems and poverty could have been addressed by these financial aid package to Cuba.

  • lungile.mngomezulu - 2012-02-06 09:30

    Can SA afford it? Is the Govt not worried about what is going on in SA?

  • cameron.briceland - 2012-11-05 10:45

    How can RSA be giving financial aid to Cuba when we have egg on our faces in this country. I am so tired of the ANC...everyone please vote for the DA and stop the rot.

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