The Department of Water and Sanitation is expected to meet the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) to discuss the registration requirements for 24 Cuban engineers.

Union, Solidarity, sent a legal letter to the department demanding the program be suspended until it can be determined if the Cuban engineers meet the legal requirements to work in South Africa.

According to the Engineering Profession Act, it is not mandatory for an engineer to register in South Africa, but a non-registered person is limited in the scope of engineering work they may perform.

ECSA’s website says international engineers who come to South Africa for employment for a brief period may apply for professional registration with ECSA.

However, these applications must be assessed to determine if they meet the ECSA criteria for registration.

This is especially important for countries that are not signatories to the International Engineering Alliance (IEA).

Cuba is not a signatory of the IEA.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says they are aware of the issues regarding the registration of the Cuban engineers in South Africa.

“The issue around the registration of the Cuban engineers is acknowledged. But we must also remember that in the context of the blockade against the government of Cuba, Cuban engineers and any other professionals have it difficult to be able to register with world organisations or even professional bodies within certain countries. But there is going to be a meeting with the Engineering Council of South Africa,” says Ratau.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau explains why Minister Sisulu decided to hire Cuban engineers to deal with SA’s water problems:

Earlier, the minister said the engineers were here to mentor and transfer skills to municipal workers and also help repair South Africa’s ailing water infrastructure.