Speaker Welcomes Cuban Delegation to Parliament

Speaker Welcomes Cuban Delegation to Parliament
Fecha de publicación: 
6 June 2023
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In welcoming the Cuban First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Gerardo Penalver Portal  and his delegation to Parliament recently, the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said Parliament was honoured to receive them.

She said: “We want to afford you an opportunity to address the National Assembly as that is our tradition when we are visited by people like you.” She also thanked Cuba for sending doctors to South Africa when they are needed.

The Speaker also shared how the South African Parliament works and said it is on course to fulfil its mandate of conducting oversight on the executive, promoting public participation in Parliament’s work and passing legislation.

She also mentioned the process in which Parliament receives government departments’ budget votes in May and thereafter MPs discuss the budget allocations. Parliament is always striving to improve on its processes and “we are doing better than before”, the Speaker said. She also spoke about the bilateral agreements between South Africa and Cuba on a range of mutually agreed areas of focus.

Briefing the delegation about various challenges facing the South African government, the Speaker spoke about the energy crisis. However, she said the government is optimistic about solving that problem, as there is now a Minister in the Presidency responsible for resolving the load-shedding challenges. In addition, she reflected that the recent outbreak of Cholera in certain parts of the country is a cause for concern. “We may run to you to request doctors as you assisted us when we were faced by Ebola.”

The Speaker also told the delegation that next year South Africa will go to the polls in a general election that will mark the 30th anniversary since all South Africans gained the right to vote. She is optimistic that South Africans will vote for the ruling party to continue the work of transformation and deepening the principles of democracy.

The Cuban Deputy Minister replied, saying that the Cuban revolution goes on despite the trade sanctions imposed by the United States. He further appealed to Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula to ensure that South Africa maintains solidarity with Cuba, as Cuba needs support to mitigate the effects of the sanctions.

He also mentioned that Cuba has experienced the same energy problems as South Africa but overcame that challenge. Some of the solutions they applied included decentralising power plants. Cuba also experienced Cholera but because of its advanced epidemiological capacity it was eradicated.

Cuba has also learnt many things from South Africa and admires South Africa for constructing a non-racial society. Cuba also battles a legacy of inequality created over 500 years ago that cannot be eradicated in a few years. He said Cuba’s former leader, Mr Fidel Castro, ensured that programmes are put in place to eradicate poverty and ensure that poor people have access to quality education.

“We need to have exchange programmes in place. We are fighting the same struggle; we need to support each other.” he said.

Mava Lukani
5 June 2023

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