Cuban engineers, who are in the country to help resolve the water infrastructure problems, may have to go through certain registration processes before they can start their work.
A City Press report quoted the CEO of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), Sipho Madonsela, as saying that the engineers needed to be registered with a council responsible for holding engineers accountable for shoddy workmanship in the country.
If not, then they needed to be supervised by an engineer registered with ECSA, as Cuba was not part of the International Alliance accords.
The report said ECSA was responsible for regulating the engineering profession.
Last week the Minister of Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu called on South Africans to embrace the engineers.
At least 24 engineers were imported from the North American country to transfer skills and knowledge, and to assist government’s efforts on water delivery.
Trained and unemployed
Sisulu expressed confidence in the engineers, as she welcomed them into the country. They were set to be in the country for the next three years.
One of the engineers Ramón B Vega Laugart has been working in the hydraulic sector since 1980, according to Times Live.
His CV stated that he graduated in civil engineering at the Universidad de Oriente in Cuba.
Ever since the arrival of the engineers, some South Africans have questioned if there were not enough skills in the country, for the ministry to seek assistance from Cuba.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba and AfriForum protested against the appointment of the Cuban engineers.
According to IOL, Mashaba condemned the government, saying those who made such a decision had ignored locally trained and unemployed engineers.
Mashaba said in doing so, the government had added insult to injury with R400 million already spent on importing Cuban doctors to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.
But Sisulu in her defence said: “The core objective of the agreement is to second Cuban engineers in infrastructure maintenance and operation skills throughout the water value chain from source to tap, with the majority being seconded at water/river clusters and at municipalities to provide training and build capacity to SA candidate engineers and artisans in all the identified municipalities.”
She said water was a ticking time bomb for South Africa.
“Cuba has had similar challenges we are facing as a country. They have overcome them and the engineers are here to assist us. They will teach and show us how to overcome these challenges,” she said.
Sisulu maintained that the Cuban engineers were not in South Africa to take any jobs.