The Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu to make public details of the agreement between South Africa and Cuba regarding the 24 Cuban engineers who were brought to assist with water and infrastructure maintenance.
The party said should Sisulu refuse to provide the requested information, it will proceed with a Public Access to Information Application.
The DA pointed out that South Africa has numerous skilled and unemployed engineers who are able to assist government with its infrastructural challenges.
The party is demanding to know the steps Sisulu’s department has taken, prior to the signing of the agreement, to ensure South Africans could be employed instead.
Meanwhile, Solidarity will meet with Sisulu and her department on May 10, following the letter it received from her department in reaction to the legal process Solidarity had instituted to question the lawfulness of importing Cuban engineers for water and infrastructure projects.
Solidarity explained that the Cuban engineers do not meet the requirements of the Engineering Council of South Africa and can, therefore, only be used to a limited extent for the work they are supposed to do.
“Minister Sisulu’s lame excuse that ‘very few of our own engineers would possibly opt to go work in the rural areas’ holds no water. [Solidarity recently] produced a list of 120 local engineers who are willing and ready to assist in the government’s efforts to address infrastructure challenges in rural communities,” the DA highlighted.
The DA accused the African National Congress of trying to appease “its old Cuban allies”.