How much will taxpayers pay for Cuban engineers? – Leon Basson

DA MP says there is very little empirical evidence that Cubans make significant contribution

How much will SA taxpayers pay for Cuban engineers, and do we need them?

21 April 2021

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to ascertain how much money her department will fork out to pay the 24 Cuban engineers, and their government, who have been brought to South Africa to share their experience and expertise with South African water engineers.

Over the past 20 years, the South African government has been employing Cuban teachers, doctors and engineers. However, there seems to be very little, if any, empirical evidence that the Cubans have made a significant contribution that local doctors, teachers or engineers could not have.

While international aid and assistance should always be welcomed, the truth is that Cuba’s “aid” to South Africa always comes with a massive price tag and without any tangible change to South African society.

The DA cannot help but wonder whether these employment programmes with the Cuban government is just another money-making scheme between the ANC and its Cuban comrades? What we do know is that the Cuban employees usually only receive a stipend while in South Africa and that the bulk of their salaries appear to be paid to the Cuban government. The chance for kickbacks for those organising these projects is highly likely. And all the while South African engineers, doctors and teachers are joining the unemployment line by being overlooked by the South African government.

Therefore, in the interest of transparency and to stop history from repeating itself, the DA will request the following information from Minister Sisulu:

How much government will spend the full deployment of the 24 engineers?

Whether a skills audit was done to find out what critical skills were needed that the local engineers did not possess?

How will the deployment of these engineers differ from previous Cuban deployment which cost millions and amounted to nothing?

The issue with these deployments is not only monetary. These programmes also raise flags as to the efficacy of the Cuban deployees in South Africa and the fact the ANC government seems to continuously overlook local professionals and their expertise in order to appease its old allies.

Issued by Leon Basson, DA Shadow Minister for Water and Sanitation, 21 April 2021