The latest fruits of the Cuba/South Africa military bilateral co-operation agreement come in the form of 33 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members successfully completing courses in different disciplines on the Caribbean island.
Ten of them are now trained air traffic controllers, armament and radio technicians following graduation from the Jose Marti Military Technical Institute in Havana, the official SANDF publication SA Soldier reports.
Ten other SANDF members studying at the Jose Maceo Inter–Arms School in Santiago-de Cuba came through technical tank training and the tank transporter operational course.
Additionally, 13 senior officers completed year-long studies in the Defence and Security Programme and Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the General Maximo Gomez Revolutionary Armed Forces Academy in Cuba. With this course successfully completed the officers have the intellectual expertise required to employ a nation’s armed forces and its military resources in support of and within the larger totality of a nation’s security according to the publication.
There are currently SANDF 202 members undergoing professional training in Cuba, including training as doctors.
The SANDF remains a partner of Cuba’s ongoing assistance in the form of student exchange programmes in different fields. SA Soldier said South Africa values this partnership as the foundation on which to build a solid national defence force fully capable of defending the country’s territorial integrity and its people.
In South Africa the most visible presence of Cuban military assistance is in Project Thusano which sees Cuban mechanics and technicians mentoring and training South African military technical personnel on vehicle maintenance and repair. Cuban expertise has also been roped by the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) to assist with maintenance and repair of specialist dental and medical equipment.