Important: S.Africa: Boers win: Victory against govt over imported Cuban engineers – Solidarity


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31 May 2024

Another important court judgment has been handed down in favour of Solidarity – this time after an almost three-year court battle against the government’s unlawful appointment of Cuban engineers in South Africa.

On Friday, these excessively expensive appointments made in 2020 by the then Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu were declared illegal by the North Gauteng High Court.

Sisulu and her department were taken to court that year when Solidarity condemned the decision to bring these foreign engineers to South Africa at great cost to work on water infrastructure.

Among other things, this was because it was contrary to the required procedures the government had to follow in order to obtain the services of such skilled employees. The appointments were further described as unnecessary and unethical – also because South Africans who were suffering at that time due to unemployment were simply overlooked for the sake of more expensive foreign workers.

Furthermore, it was determined that most of the money agreed upon by the department as compensation would not go into the Cuban engineers’ pockets, but would be paid to the Cuban government.

According to Solidarity Deputy Chief Executive Anton van der Bijl, this matter was yet another shocking example of an ANC account that South African taxpayers would have paid for.

According to calculations made at the time, the 25 engineers cost South Africans approximately R75 million.

“Thanks to Solidarity’s involvement, further large-scale and blatantly unnecessary wastefulness has been uncovered.

“Nonetheless, it is a disgrace that once more it was necessary to intervene at great expense through the courts. It once again shows how the government’s own interests far outweigh the interests of ordinary South Africans.

“Once again they were prepared to sacrifice the progress of South Africans – this time for the sake of an ideological bedfellow, namely Cuba,” Van der Bijl said.

According to the court’s judgment the saying “charity begins at home” is applicable in this case and the manner in which they were appointed was judged to be illegal.

The government’s failure to first consult local engineers for water infrastructure projects was emphasized. The department’s claims that the Cubans have more scarce skills and experience than their South African counterparts could not be proven.

The department must in future adhere to the proper processes when appointing public servants and also where Cuban workers are involved. See the judgment here.

Issued by Anton van der Bijl, Solidarity: Deputy Chief Executive, 31 May 2024


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