The Association of the Cubans Residents in South Africa says the Cuban engineers who have been brought to the country to work on the country’s water infrastructure problems are only here to help.

The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation has been subjected to severe criticism for its decision to employ the 24 engineers at a cost of R65 million per year.

According to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the engineers are not in the country to take jobs but to share experience and impart technical skills to local water engineers.

A point President of Association of Cubans residents in South Africa, Cristina Florez, agrees with.

“A lot of the engineers and professionals that come to South Africa go to places where the South Africans don’t want to go – which is your rural areas. They come here with the willingness to help and they don’t care where they are going to because they want to help and they want to share their experience and their knowledge,” says Florez.

Call for pause on project

Trade union Solidarity wants the Cuban engineering programme suspended with immediate effect.

The government’s move to bring the engineers to the country could be illegal.

In a legal letter, Solidarity says the programme must be suspended until the engineers’ legal status in the country is verified.

Water Department’s Sputnik Ratau explains why Minister Sisulu hired the engineers:

The engineers is not the first Cuban group to be roped in to assist get South Africa out of a quagmire. In 2020, government brought more than 200 Cuban health professionals, mostly doctors to South Africa, at a cost of R400 million to help in the fight against the coronavirus.