Cubans cost Free State more than R185 million

By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

The Cuban cohort of medical professionals and engineers employed by Premier Ace Magashule in the Free State for three years is set to cost the province more than R185 million. This was revealed in reply to a written question I submitted to Premier Magashule.

The Premier revealed that the province is set to employ 21 medical professionals and 45 engineers.

Over the three contract period the Cuban cohort will cost the taxpayer R138 million in salaries, R11 million in travel expenses and R36 million in accommodation expenses. Even Premier Magashule does not know how much the actual final costs for the Cuban cohort will be.

We have previously stated that Premier Magashule and the ANC are acting as labour brokers for Cuba. Doctors in Cuba earn a salary of about $70 per month. In the Free State these Cuban doctors earn between R600,000.00 and R920,000.00 per year, excluding benefits.

Premier Ace Magasule and his ANC-led government are denying qualified South Africans the opportunity to serve the province and the country.

I will submit written questions to Premier Magashue asking him:

  1. Whether all the (i) engineering and (ii) medical professional vacancies filled by Cuban nationals in the Free State were first advertised in the (a) province and (b) South Africa; if not, why not; and if so, why were no South Africans appointed;
  2. Whether the Free State Provincial Government exhausted all efforts to first employ qualified South Africans before embarking on a recruitment drive to Cuba; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
  3. Out of which departmental budgets will the (a) salaries and (b) all benefits of Cuban employees be paid?

The DA remain cognisant of the fact that South Africa has a huge skills deficit and we desperately need to import those requisite skills, however, the cost of this Cuban endeavour seems to be costing the cash strapped Free State that is already defaulting on basic services more than it can afford.

The political relationship between the ANC and Cuba is now costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of Rands, simply because of the ANC’s attachment to an out-dated ideology.