The late former Cuban president and revolutionary Fidel Castro will be remembered and honoured for contributing more than 30 engineers to aid in South Africa’s present water crisis.
Cuban embassy officials, 35 Cuban engineers (stationed at water department regions across the country), and water and sanitation department officials attended a special memorial for Castro in Pretoria yesterday.
Speaking at the commemoration, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane reminisced about Castro’s generosity to South Africa. “The water family is also a beneficiary of his big golden heart, as we enjoy more than 30 Cuban specialists, who share their knowledge and skills on water,” Mokonyane said. “You have taken courage from your leader, who supported the ideals of a better world.”
The department ratified an agreement to appoint the water experts in October 2014, in the fields of water resources management and water supply.
The engineers were welcomed by Mokonyane in February last year to share their expertise for a period of two years, with the possibility of extending their stay by another year. Eduardo Loriga, coordinator at the Cuban Embassy, praised Castro for being the first to consider the seriousness of climate change across the world.
“The Americans ignored this, but Castro took it seriously and addressed it,” Loriga said. “As a country, we still feel pain for losing one of our best sons. We will continue with his legacy to be faithful.”
Meanwhile, thousands bade farewell to the Cuban hero when his ashes were buried in the eastern city of Santiago yesterday.