UASA disturbed by SANDF’s spending on Cuban service providers


Trade union UASA says it is infuriated to learn that the cash-strapped South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spent more than R1 billion on Cuban service providers over the last few years.

In a statement, Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union, said “UASA is sickened by the fact that government is using tax-payers’ funds to pay this exorbitant amount of money to keep its relations with Cuba smooth at the cost of South Africa’s own qualified engineers.”

UASA said state-owned enterprise (SOE) Denel is in dire financial straits. “Due to budget cuts, government is failing to step in and save the enterprise and the jobs of those employed there but engineers from Cuba have been getting paid.

“UASA has been fighting the situation at Denel for quite a while now and the fact that government is failing to assist the enterprise is disheartening to say the least. The situation at Denel has also affected small businesses that provide services to the SOE because the company is unable to make payments and owes millions to service providers.

“South Africa’s government needs to take care of its own citizens and patriotic taxpayers before outsourcing key projects worth billions to foreign companies whilst we have capacity within our country where people are willing and able to do the job,” UASA concluded.

Since 2015 Cuba received over R1 billion for refurbishing and maintaining South African military vehicles under Project Thusano, according to a parliamentary reply by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, responding to a question posed by Kobus Marais, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for her portfolio.