Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed the 25 Cuban engineers who have been seconded to help South Africa improve the delivery of water and related services, to South Africa.
The engineers will support the South African government in this regard for three years.
Sisulu says the engineers, including mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, were selected because of their technical skills.
The engineers will focus on strengthening operations and maintenance within the water infrastructure sector, providing support to provinces and municipalities where delivery of water services is critical.
“With the experience that I have garnered of working with the Cuban government from other departments, I believe the engineers will display the same dedication and commitment towards the task at hand," the Minister notes.
Civil society organisation Solidarity has, however, criticised the Minister for "importing foreign workers".
“It is a shame that the government itself does not take the President’s call earlier this year to support local employees and businesses seriously. If the Minister was truly unable to find local workers who wanted to do the work, then she did not search very hard," the organisation states.
Solidarity adds that it has compiled and sent a list comprising the names of more than 120 "competent and willing" South African engineers to Sisulu.
“We have reached out to the Minister with a list of some of the country’s most experienced and knowledgeable specialists in engineering, some of whom retain masters and doctoral degrees and others who have up to 42 years of experience.
"They are ready and willing to immediately start with work. There is simply no excuse not to use our own intellectual and practical resources,” it states.