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DA wants more information from govt about Cubans employed in SA

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)

  • The DA will bring a PAIA application to obtain the government’s employment agreements with Cuba.
  • Five government departments have paid R1.4 billion to employ the Cubans.
  • One of the questions the DA has is whether the Cuban government receives financial incentives from these agreements.

The DA wants the government to come clean on its agreements with Cuba to employ its citizens in South Africa, which has cost the government more than R1.4 billion.

“The DA will submit Promotion of Access to Information Act [PAIA] applications to various government departments to obtain the full details of employment agreements between the South African and Cuban governments,” DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said in a statement.

ALSO READ | DA slams Gauteng health dept for paying Cuban doctors more than R32m for Covid-19 services

Earlier this month, News24 reported that a series of answers to parliamentary questions posed by the DA revealed five departments – basic education; public works; health; human settlements, water and sanitation; and defence – have employed Cubans at a cost of R1.4 billion since 2010.

“R1.4 billion is a large amount of money, and there is very little detail on these employment agreements,” Mazzone added.

The DA, therefore, is seeking access to the following information with its PAIA application:

  • A full breakdown of the payments to the Cuban workers, including salaries, accommodation and travelling fees.
  • Whether payments are made directly to the workers or if payments are made to the Cuban government directly.
  • If the Cuban government receives financial incentives from these agreements.
  • Confirmation if a skills audit is done in South Africa to find out what critical skills were needed that the local professionals did not have.
  • Whether an impact assessment is done after these deployments to ascertain the necessity of continuing with these agreements.

“The DA does not believe that these agreements are completely as straightforward as the government would like the public to believe,” she said.

“It simply makes no sense why the South African government would fork out billions of rand to pay for the skills and services from Cuba when there are unemployed and qualified workers across South Africa in all the identified fields desperate for employment.” 

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