DA Calls for Answers On Minister Mokonyane's By-Passing of Local Engineers [press release]

The DA has requested the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, Mr Mlungisi Johnson, to summon Minister Nomvula Mokonyane to the next Portfolio Committee meeting to explain why she has by-passed unemployed South African engineers for employment contracts with her Department.
This follows the Minister’s decision to contract 34 Cuban Engineers to the Department at an estimated cost of more than R 50 million per year, far higher than the cost of contracting qualified South African Engineers who are in desperate need of employment.
The same level of spending could have been used to employ more than 60 local engineers. There are an estimated 500 unemployed engineers in South Africa, making it nonsensical for Minister Mokonyane to be looking abroad to fill contractual positions in her Department.
The DA supports the South African Institute for Civil Engineers’ (SAICE) view that Minister Mokonyane’s decision acts as a disincentive to local graduates, trained at our Technikons and Universities. It is also counter to healthy levels of cooperation between government and the private sector. By tapping into the local pool of unemployed engineers, unnecessary problems such as language barriers and a lack of familiarity with South African design codes and practice can be avoided.
It is also questionable why the Minister chose to employ Cuban engineers in particular, given that that country’s engineering skills are not recognised by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as they are not part of the Washington Accord that governs international engineering qualifications and of which ECSA is a signatory.
The DA will further request the Portfolio Committee to invite the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and the Engineering Council of South Africa to deliver a presentation to the committee on how they can assist South Africa in resolving the country’s water and sanitation crisis.
Leon Basson
Shadow Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation