Johannesburg – ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has condemned government’s decision to import Cuban engineers to fix the country’s ailing infrastructure while allegedly ignoring locally trained and unemployed engineers.
Mashaba made these remarks after the Minister of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed that 24 Cuban engineers were in the country to assist the provincial and local government with fixing their infrastructure.
In his reaction, Mashaba said the government in doing so has allegedly added insult to the injury of the R400 million spent on imported Cuban doctors to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
“Our government has failed to maintain, repair and renew the infrastructure in South Africa creating an infrastructure crisis. In the City of Joburg, when I became Mayor in 2016, there was a R177 billion unfunded infrastructure backlog.
“Country wide this is a feature of tenders being seen as the ringing of the dinner bell for corrupt ANC cadres. After just concluding the Hammanskraal Water Hearings, which spent R295m on the Free State asbestos project company owned by Edwin Sodi,” Mashaba said.
He said South Africa has some of the best engineers in the world who graduate from South African funded universities saying many, as a result of economic mismanagement and the impact of the lockdown, were sitting at home unemployed.
“To import Cuban engineers who qualified from lower standard universities than our own world-class engineers is criminal.
How do Cuban engineers or doctors fit into the sliding scale of affirmative action?
“Like the import of Cuban doctors, the import of Cuban engineers is 100% about the ANC scratching the back of a country that it has historical links with.
“Cuba itself is a disaster, a country 40-50 years behind South Africa where very little works, much less the infrastructure.
“If the ANC wants to assist the Cuban government, it should do so itself and not waste another cent of South African public money on its vanity projects,” ActionSA leader said.
He said his party was calling upon every unemployed South African engineer to Act As One saying they would be establishing an online site where unemployed, qualified South African engineers could register their details with ActionSA like they did with unemployed doctors and medical professionals.
“We will collect this list over a period of the next month, after which we will present it to the government alongside the demand that these South African engineers are employed first before any are imported from Cuba or any other country for that matter.
“The South African government must end its ridiculous pattern of assisting nations around the world when it is failing in the most fundamental manner, the South African people,” Mashaba said.