Cubans, Tunisians recruited for state jobs
16 June 2008, 09:56
The government is recruiting hundreds of Cuban engineers and architects
to fill posts and mentor young graduates.
More than 50 foreigners work in the public works department.
This is in addition to the doctors recruited from Cuba and Tunisia.
In answer to a question in the national assembly, Public Works Minister
Thoko Didiza said there were vacancies in her department for 262
professionals, including 60 architects, 65 civil engineers, 14
electrical engineers and 10 mechanical engineers. So far 24 civil
engineers, 19 architects and 14 other engineers have been brought from Cuba.
The ministry of water affairs and forestry indicated in a separate reply
to a question from the DA that it was about to conclude a deal with the
Cuban government to recruit more engineers to help South Africa with
water quality and sanitation.
The recent annual reports of the government's Accelerated and Shared
Growth Initiative for South Africa and its sister programme, the Joint
Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition, noted the critical shortage
of engineers, architects and professional planners as a key obstacle to
Didiza replied to a written question from DA MP Sakkie Blanche that the
Cuban professionals would all be on a three-year contract and earn just
more than R300 000 a year.
Asked whether South Africans were being trained for these positions, she
said some of the department's 101 young graduates would be mentored by
the Cubans, to enable them to eventually fill the vacancies.
Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said 139 Cuban and 47
Tunisian doctors were employed by the government in the poorest provinces.
"More than 100 additional job offers have been sent to Tunisia and it is
expected that these doctors will arrive shortly."
An agreement with Tunisia makes provision for 230 of its doctors to be
* This article was originally published on page 2 of The Pretoria
News on June 16, 2008