SA, Cuba strengthen relations

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Human Settlements Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo has left for the People’s Republic of Cuba where she will engage in discussions with her Cuban counterparts on existing cooperation agreements between the two countries.

Mfeketo, who is accompanied by a delegation from her department, is expected to have official meetings with the Cuban Minister of Construction, Rene Mesa Villafaña, who invited her to the country.

The two Ministers will be meeting on Wednesday, where they are expected to embark on a brief tour to several training institutes in Havana.

Discussions between the two Ministers are expected to include assessments of current agreements between South Africa and Cuba with a view to strengthen, amongst others, the South Africa-Cuba Technical Support Programme.

The programme covers areas such as skills transfer, expertise assistance in the delivery of projects and exchange programmes.

Addressing language barriers and promoting youth and women participation in programmes such as South Africa’s Peoples Housing Project (PHP) are also expected to form part of discussions between the two Ministers.

Mfeketo said her visit to Cuba is aimed at acquiring first-hand knowledge on how governments could give citizens the skills that are required to build their own houses.

“I am here to also draw lessons from the rich history of the Cuban tradition to empower communities with skills that enable them to build houses for themselves and their families.

“We are determined to restore the dignity of the people and create sustainable human settlements, decent jobs and break the cycle of depending on the state,” she said.

Mfeketo’s hectic schedule started on Monday with a briefing by South Africa’s Ambassador to Cuba, Shole-Linelly and her team. On Tuesday, the Minister visited Manza and Vadero to see how communities organise themselves into functional co-operatives that produce building materials to build their own houses. –