‘We will hire Cubans’

2016-02-24 06:00


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THE Free State premier, Ace Magashule, said the provincial government wouldl “unapologetically” hire more Cuban engineers to work in the province if needed.

Magashule was giving his state of the province address on Tuesday, 16 February, at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Vista Campus in Bloemfontein.

The sitting was briefly disrupted after EFF members of the legislature had been denied the platform to raise a point of order while Magashule was speaking.

During the address, Magashule said the provincial government had deployed 36 Cuban engineers to various municipalities in the province to improve the quality of infrastructure work in the province. It is said the Cuban engineers will cost the province an estimated R110 million over a period of three years.

Magashule further said an Education Indaba would take place this week to review the entire education system from gr. R to gr. 12.

“We will engage all stakeholders in the sector to review and assess our perfor-mance,” he said.

Recently, the Department of Education has been under fire for failing to pay out school subsidies over the last two school quarters.

Magashule applauded the Department of Education for awarding more than 500 students with bursaries to study at various international universities.

According to Magashule, 201 students are studying medicine in Cuba and a further 277 students are pursuing various courses at universities in China.

Magashule acknowledged the tight financial constraints faced by government and urged government to implement cost-containing measures to ensure that service delivery is effective.

The premier said health infrastructure had made steady progress and announced that the newly-built Albert Nzula District Hospital in Trompsburg and the Senorita Ntlabathi Hospital in Ladybrand were operational.

Addressing job creation challenges, Magashule said the province had attracted over R5 billion in investments for the Harrismith Special Economic Zone, which will deliver 5 000 jobs.

Magashule raised concerns on the impact of the recent drought on farmers and said the Department of Agriculture would release more resources for drought relief.

FF Plus member of the Free State legislature, Wouter Wessels, said Magashule had not addressed the poor state of the health system and how government planned to deal with the aftermath of the drought.

DA leader in the Free State legislature, Roy Jankielsohn, also said the premier had failed to commit to a detailed plan on how to deal with the drought and ensure food security for the people of the province.

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