JONATHAN JANSEN | Beware SA’s shenanigans with other countries behind our backs
The recruitment of Cuban engineers and doctors makes political sense and nothing else
From start to finish, the government decision to invite Cuban engineers to fix our water problems was a case study in political deception. It made no technical sense since SA has some of best trained engineers on the continent. It made little financial sense since the budget for the project involving 24 Cuban engineers was a staggering R64,652,000. It made no developmental sense in a Covid economy where experts estimate that about 2,000 SA engineers are unemployed. And it made no educational sense since engineers from outside the country need to be registered with the engineering council or be supervised by a registered engineer – the latter requirement defeating the apparent “skills transfer” purpose of the Cuban visitors.
What on Earth is going on here? This is an example of your government doing things behind your back with reckless disregard for the fact that you as a taxpayer are footing the bill. Thankfully, the media seized upon this wasteful decision and made a public fuss about the mess. Caught off guard, the minister offered the defence that the Cubans came because SA engineers are not keen to work in rural areas. Of course, this is nonsense; an unemployed engineer would work on the moon if necessary, and the few engineering professionals I know work in rural areas anyway because that is what they do...