The civil rights organisation AfriForum sent a letter to Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation today, questioning the appointment of 24 Cuban engineers. This follows after these engineers were appointed on 19 April 2021 to assist the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to solve problems with water infrastructure and to share their expertise.

AfriForum is of the opinion that these appointments are a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, since South Africa has experienced, qualified engineers and specialists who are more than capable to assist the department. In the letter, the organisation requests that the engineers’ experience and qualifications be made known, that a report describing the water and infrastructure problems be made available, and that the department supply an action plan of where the engineers will be working.

The DWS spent approximately R12 million in 2017 appointing Cuban engineers, without ever publishing a report on the work that was done. AfriForum also requested in the letter that a comprehensive financial structure be made public on what these appointments will cost taxpayers.

“AfriForum has tried on numerous occasions to arrange a meeting with the minister regarding the organisation’s annual blue and green drop report, in which our analysis of several water problems are published. We also have a list of retired engineers and specialists, as well as some who are still employed, who will be more than willing to assist the department in solving these problems. It is unacceptable to appoint Cuban engineers when South Africa has its own capable and qualified engineers,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager for Environmental Affairs.

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