08/16/13 - AllAfrica.com - Committee Calls for a Full Implementation of the SA-Cuba Agreement
The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation fully
supports the efforts to make sure that the agreement on Economic Assistance
to Cuba is implemented.
Committee Chairperson, Mr Tisetso Magama, said the implementation of the
agreement was critical in terms of enhancing of the relations between the
two countries as it would strengthen their historical and economic
partnerships which would help in addressing respective domestic challenges.
Mr Magama added that the effective oversight on the executive would also be
critical for the implementation of the agreement.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation's Mr Dries Venter
said his department, along with other roleplayers, intended seeing through
the R350 million economic assistance package comprising a R100 million
solidarity, R40 million grant for the purchase of seeds, R70 million credit
line facility, underwritten by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation
(ECIC), to provide risk cover to potential SA exporters to Cuba. Another
R140 million second tranche of export guarantee, underwritten by EICIC,
which will become available based on the payment of the initial R70
Meanwhile, Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Carlos Fernandez de
Cossio said many challenges stood in the way of Cuba's attainment of the
desired economic prosperity. According to the Ambassador, these challenges
included the incarceration of the Cuban 5 and the economic blockade by the
United States of America.
These sanctions, according to Ambassador de Cossio, prevented Cuba from
trading with South Africa as they barred them from purchasing any product
that has 10 percent of American material. Mr Tsepo Matlhako of the Friends
of Cuba, requested the Committee to ensure that Parliament passed a motion
on the release of the Cuban remaining four and the removal of the economic
Mr Magama said the Committee supported the need for continued discussions
aimed at resolving the economic embargo against Cuba. He said they were
concerned about inconsistencies applied herein. "We are failing to
comprehend that, despite meeting all the requirements stipulated in the
embargo, Cuba is still subjected to these sanctions," he added.
On the question of the remaining Cuban 4, the Committee calls for their
release and in the meantime wants these prisoners to be treated in a humane
manner and be allowed to enjoy all benefits enjoyed by other prisoners
which include the right to be visited by family members.
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