The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has dismissed, with costs, the government’s application for leave to appeal the court’s ruling that AfriForum could interdict it from donating R50 million to Cuba. 

Judge Brenda Neukircher had ruled that it was in the interests of justice to refuse leave to appeal with costs.

Advocate Hephzibah Rajah, representing the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), argued that the judgment grossly interfered with the principle of the separation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution. 

‘The power to conduct international foreign relations is the privilege of the executive, and thus the doctrine of separation of powers was engaged when dealing with decisions made by the executive in fulfilling its functions to conduct such humanitarian assistance.’ 

Rajah added that the granting of the interdict in March usurped Dirco’s rightful powers and that alone warranted the granting of leave to appeal the judgment. 

She further argued that the executive decision to assist Cuba with humanitarian aid had not been concluded, yet the court had found it fitting to meddle in the matter. 

Rajah argued that such a move amounted to premature judgment, as no imminent harm could be demonstrated by AfriForum.  

AfriForum’s legal representative, Johan Hamman, argued that on the separation of powers, the Constitution was the supreme law for all three arms of government, so the court was entitled to police unlawful actions, such as rolling over funds to finance the donation. 

AfriForum welcomed the judgment, saying: ‘We are glad that the court upheld the interdict, since it is simply unacceptable, irrational and illegal for the government to squander money that could be used to solve the myriad of problems in this country.’

Photo: Members of Chefs with Compassion delivered a petition to the International Relations and Co-operation Department in Pretoria against a R50 million donation to Cuba.