Black engineers shocked by ‘outrageous’ salaries South African government pays Cuban engineers
Johannesburg – The South African Black and Technical Careers Organization (SABTCO), which represents black engineers, says it is shocked by the exorbitant salaries the South African government pays Cuban engineers.
It comes after the Solidarity union discovered that Cuban engineers would each make R 1 million a year and make more money than the average South African engineer who can do the same job. Part of the salary includes many social benefits such as plane tickets for a Cuba vacation, furnished accommodation, food and telephone costs.
The logic of the deployment of the 25 Cubans “was based on their rare and exclusive expertise in the maintenance and extension of the life of the infrastructures linked to water and sanitation”.
“We were never consulted on this subject, no engineering structure was consulted. If it’s a political thing, they just have to tell us because it doesn’t make sense, ”said Solly Mabuza, Secretary General of SABTCO.
Mabuza said the organization wrote to Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu asking for an explanation of the matter. He said South African engineers are recognized as some of the best in the world.
“Cuban engineers cannot even match our standards, which tells you that we are more equipped than they are,” he said.
Mabuza said that the employment of Cuban engineers was an insult to many black engineers who were unemployed.
“There are a lot of race issues in this area. I specialize in water and waste treatment work, I will say with confidence that there are no more than 10 blacks and the racial walls are high. Laws and policies are made by people who serve the interests of the minority, ”Mabuza said.
The organization said it plans to organize African engineers and eventually start a union that will represent engineers.
“For the past 16 years we have been suppressed as black engineers. We have a hard time even signing up, and when you get to the panel doing interviews, they’re white people. We never had our say. We have a lot of black engineers who are not employed, but the problem is we are not organized as engineers, ”Mabuza said.
He said black engineers were ready to work anywhere.
“They can’t say we don’t want to stay in rural areas. We come from these rural areas, so they can’t say that we don’t have expertise or that we don’t want to work there, ”Mabuza said.