Lindiwe Sisulu urges SA to welcome Cuban engineers
Johannesburg – Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called on South Africans to embrace Cuban Engineers and assured them that they are not here to take any jobs.
Sisulu said the engineers were seconded in the country to assist the government's efforts on water delivery and related services.
This follows some South Africans who questioned if there are not enough skills in the country, for the ministry to seek assistance from Cuba.
The engineers are in the country for three years and will assist in the area of infrastructure maintenance and operation skills throughout the water value chain from source to tap, with the majority being seconded at water/river clusters and at municipalities to provide training.
They will also assist with building capacity to the country’s candidate engineers and artisans in all the identified municipalities, and as such, address water scarcity and infrastructure challenges in various provinces.
“We have over two of decades long-standing government to government relations with Cuba and these engineers have come to South Africa to partner with us in our efforts to ensure that we improve the delivery of water and related services to the majority of our people,” said Sisulu.
“The engineers will be getting a stipend on a monthly basis. The budget that has been set aside will also cover accommodation, and goods and services. I want to refute claims that these engineers are in the country to take jobs which could be offered to South Africans, that is not the case at all,” she said.
Sisulu expressed confidence that with the presence of the engineers in the country, the journey the two countries have been travelling together from the days of the liberation struggle will ultimately lead to the betterment of conditions of living for the majority of South Africans, especially with regard to the provision of water services.
Lazaro Martinez Gonzalez, one of the Cuban experts deployed in the country, has also underscored that his team was in the country to serve its people.
He gave an assurance that the engineers were well disciplined, professional and adequately qualified.
“We are committed to working very closely with our South African sisters and brothers, while we impart our knowledge and expertise in the field of water,” said Gonzalez.
“We come in the spirit of immense humanity and solidarity,” said Gonzalez.
Sisulu also implored some South African professionals in the water sector to engage with the sector on an ongoing basis. This is so the professionals and government can reflect on the opportunities and possibilities to collectively serve the country, more so as the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan speaks to such a need.
Sisulu called on the professionals to adopt the spirit of the Vaal business community and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) which have partnered with the government to provide a lasting solution to water and sanitation challenges in Emfuleni Local Municipality.