Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
9 Jul 2021
3:31 pm

‘Why have five government departments spent over R1 billion on Cuban services?’

Citizen Reporter

The DA says the expenditure makes no sense in a country with record unemployment numbers.

Cuban doctors who were deployed to South Africa to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Lowvelder

The employment of Cuban service providers and workers has cost South Africa a whopping R1.4 billion in the past 10 years.

This was revealed in a written response by five government departments to DA Natasha Mazzone chief whip on Friday.

Mazzone said the skyrocketing amounts of monet paid to the Cuban service providers and workers was concerning.

“It makes no sense that in a country with record unemployment rates the government would continue to enter into these costly agreements at the expense of local job creation,” Mazzone said.

“The astronomical amounts of money the government is forking out to pay for skills and services from Cuba are concerning when there are unemployed and qualified workers across South Africa in all fields desperate for employment.”

Mazzone questioned why the government spends billions on Cuban service providers to maintain and repair defence equipment when the local defence industry is caught in a death spiral and job losses.

She has also questioned the Health Department for bringing over doctors and nurses from Cuba, when it had failed for months to place community service doctors.

ALSO READ: Government again defends hiring Cubans in jobs-starved SA

“Clearly, there’s more to these contracts between South Africa and Cuba than meets the eye. It would appear that the South African government is once again being captured, this time by its blind loyalty to its old Cuban allies,” Mazzone said.

She said that the DA would continue to pursue the issue by submitting applications to the government in terms of the Public Access to Information Act to ascertain the full details of the agreements and who was benefiting from them.