Unemployed doctors in South Africa criticize government’s purchase of enslaved doctors from Cuba

The corruption of Cuban socialism not only affects Cubans, but those in other countries who do business with Cuba’s communist dictatorship. The South African government is purchasing the slave labor of Cuban doctors from the Castro regime, leaving hundreds of South African doctors without work.

Via CiberCuba (my translation):

Millions paid for Cuban doctors in South Africa while local medical professions remain unemployed is criticized

The Department of Health in the Gauteng province of South Africa annually spends $745,652 (equivalent to 14.3 million rand) on the employment of 11 Cuban doctors, generating criticism due to the considerable number of unemployed local medical professionals.

Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, the Minister of Health and Welfare for the jurisdiction, which includes the city of Johannesburg, made the information public during a consultation with opposition political groups in the provincial legislature, as reported by BusinessTech.

The official pointed out that the salary of Cuban doctors ranges between 1 and 1.6 million rand annually, which is $52,522 and $84,016, respectively.

She explained that out of the total professionals, four are located in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Health District, three in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Health District, two in the Sedibeng Metropolitan Health District, while one operates at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital and another at the Tembisa Hospital.

This hiring sparked controversy because at the beginning of 2014, about 700 qualified local doctors were unemployed in the public sector, the cited artcile reported.

In this regard, Jack Bloom, a member of the Democratic Alliance Health Executive Council, questioned the strangeness of the country spending money to train local doctors who are then unemployed.

Bloom considered that such hiring is puzzling because Cuban doctors do not have specialized skills that can’t be performed by local professionals.

However, the export of Cuban doctors to South Africa has its origins in a bilateral agreement signed in 1996 between the two nations.

This pact between Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro improved primary health care in South Africa, according to Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

Under this agreement, the African nation sends hundreds of medical students to Cuban schools, whose tuition is paid by the South African government, and in return, the Caribbean nation sends doctors to work in the South African public health system.

South African Health Minister Joseph Phaahla recently acknowledged before Parliament that the government has increased the training of doctors in the last 15 years, both in local universities and in Cuba.

Phaahla pointed out that over the past decade, the number of professionals has doubled, with 1,338 graduates entering the internship program in 2014 and increasing to 2,210 in 2024, as reported by Business Tech.

However, the controversy over the hiring of Cuban professionals in South Africa is not new.

In 2022, the government of the African nation entered into a dispute with opposition parties demanding answers about the payment of $19 million dollars (308 million rand, the local currency) to Cuba in salaries for Cuban doctors and engineers.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) party demanded action for the Ministry of Labor to clarify the hiring of more than 229 Cuban doctors and 65 engineers when the African country was experiencing unemployment crises and a stagnant economy with high inflation rates, reported the Eyewitness News platform.

At the beginning of the year, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, reiterated his call to the Cuban state to respond to serious allegations of alleged human rights abuses suffered by Cuban professionals on international missions. The accusation also involves recipient countries, such as South Africa in this case.

In a communication dated November 2, 2023, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the alleged abuses of fundamental rights, such as privacy, freedom of expression and association, as well as the freedom of movement of Cuban professionals on temporary work missions abroad.

2 thoughts on “Unemployed doctors in South Africa criticize government’s purchase of enslaved doctors from Cuba”

  1. Because, like the AMLO asshole (and others), the powers that be in South Africa are more interested in politics than in their own people. As I’ve always said, the Mandela connection was a great investment.

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