Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has defended her decision to hire 24 Cuban engineers who will help “enhance government’s efforts in water delivery and related services”.
This is after ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba on Wednesday claimed that locally trained and unemployed engineers were being ignored.
Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the highly qualified Cuban specialists would assist as advisers at the provincial and local level throughout the country, “sharing their vast skills in the areas of mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, as well as project management”.
He said the arrival of the engineers followed a 2014 bilateral agreement between South Africa and Cuba on cooperation in the fields of water resources management and water supply.
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 22, 2021
“Some of the engineers’ core responsibilities include the practical exploration of sustainable use of water resources, maintenance and management of water supply and sanitation infrastructure, and the strategic planning of those resources, particularly in rural and other disadvantaged communities.”
AfriForum also weighed in and condemned the hiring of the Cubans.
“AfriForum is of the opinion that these appointments are a huge waste of taxpayers’ money since South Africa has experienced, qualified engineers and specialists who are more than capable to assist the department,” reads its statement.
“The DWS spent approximately R12 million in 2017 appointing Cuban engineers, without ever publishing a report on the work that was done.”
Sisulu, together with South African ambassador to Cuba HE Shope-Linley and ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson, as well as the president of the Cuba Hydraulic Institute, Antonio Rodriquez-Rodriquez, will lead the welcoming ceremony in Pretoria East on Thursday.