Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has hailed the return of 280 medical students from Cuba as historical.

The group returned to South Africa on Saturday night.

They will complete their final sixth-year studies and integration into the South African health system.

They were part of the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro programme which aims at focusing on the shortage of doctors in South Africa.

It is one of the national strategies developed to strengthen the public health sector.

Motsoaledi says this is the biggest group since the programme’s inception.

The students have expressed excitement after landing in South Africa, saying they can’t wait to put to practice what they have learned.

This is the first group to return since 2012, more are students expected in the coming weeks.  Motsoaledi says what’s special about this group is that they come home at a time when the country celebrates former President Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

Watch related videos below: