Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
5 minute read
24 May 2021
6:09 pm

Questions over when SA became Cuba’s ’employment agency’

Sipho Mabena

State-owned entity Denel's mechanics remaining unutilised, in favour of 'downright useless' Cubans, isn't the first time SA has spent millions on imported labour.

The Gecko utility vehicle during a SANDF capability demonstration at Roodewaal bomb range in Polokwane on 18 February 2020 ahead of Armed Forces day on Friday. Picture Neil McCartney

The South African government’s R1.6 billion splurge on Cuban mechanics for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), while cash-strapped Denel’s vehicle systems capabilities lay idle, has been slated as stupid, silly and bizarre. Unlike the expertise and fit-for-purpose approach of Denel’s Vehicle Systems (DVS) mechanics, defence analyst Helmoed Romer-Heitman described the Cuban mechanics' approach as "basic and downright useless". ALSO READ: SA defence forces spends R1 billion on Cuban service providers, says DA “Effectively the vehicles they worked on cannot be used. The then SA Defence Force used conscripts they trained for six months to be mechanics and they did...