- Four years and R84.7 million later, Ace Magashule's Cuban Technical Advisers programme has flopped
- The plan to import 37 Cuban engineers has seen all but three leaving the country
- Alarmingly one of the complaints received was the lack of work available for them to do in South Africa, despite their multi-million Rand price tag
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The Free State province under the leadership of former premier Ace Magashule had welcomed 37 Cuban engineers with a plush R500 000 ceremony four years ago.
But a City Press report claims that the R80 million project has failed, with only three engineers remaining in the country.
The Democratic Alliance's Free State MEC Motshidisi Koloi had given legislature an update, following claims that there had been nothing to show for the costly programme.
Koloi laid out the expenses incurred by the engineers as follows:
- R54.7 million in salaries
- R6.4 million for plane tickets
- R15 million for accommodation
- R5 million for government vehicles
- R245 000 for English and Sotho lessons
- R64 800 for driving lessons
- R2.4 million for travelling and subsistence
- R510 000 for the 'welcoming ceremony'
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Brought to the Free State as part of a 'bilateral agreement' to help improve service delivery, the DA's Leona Kleynhans commented:
“The DA has also received complaints from Cubans about the lack of actual work for them, the incompetence in the municipalities and receiving only R8 000 of the R50 000 per month promised to them."
While the Free State's provincial department of human settlements has denied the following allegations, the DA claims salaries went back to Cuba instead of to the engineers.
The opposition party is adamant that there was evidence of money laundering, claiming it had been a plot to move funds out of municipalities and into the hands of a foreign government.
Briefly.co.za reported that a recently arrested ANC MP believes that Ace Magashule's arrest is also imminent, stemming from crimes allegedly committed during his time as the province's leader.
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