Civil rights organisation AfriForum has brought an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act against the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), seeking access to the work permits of 31 Cuban engineers employed by the DWS.
AfriForum reports that Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has extended the engineers’ contracts, despite rumours that the department is bankrupt.
“AfriForum is going to compare the experience and qualifications of the Cuban engineers to that of South African engineers who could rather have been employed to do the same quality of work at an affordable, market-related remuneration package.
“South Africans are struggling to find work, while foreigners are appointed at such a high cost,” said AfriForum environmental projects coordinator Chris Boshoff.
The Cuban engineers’ contracts were set to expire at the end of year; however, AfriForum said the contracts had been extended to June 2018. “The money that was spent on salaries and travelling has also increased costs by millions of rands,” it stated.
The Democratic Alliance in January claimed the cost to the public purse for employing the Cuban engineers was estimated to be almost R110-million.
The engineers, who had been appointed to build housing, help with water provision and other infrastructure development and manage projects, were employed on three-year contracts.