South Africa spends hundreds of millions on Cuban doctors

indafrica June 10, 2020
Updated 2020/06/10 at 6:21 PM

The controversial ‘ Cuban doctors ‘ initiative has been billed as a great collaborative effort between the Caribbean island and South Africa.

Hundreds of medical professionals have been flown to our shores, in a bid to curb the COVID-19 epidemic. However, their conscription hasn’t been welcomed by everyone…

The government has faced criticism for sourcing medical help from abroad, and the decision is seen by some as more of a political statement than anything else .

Well, the ruling party was pushed onto the back foot again this week, after the mega-salaries afforded to the Cuban doctors were made public.

Of course, in the middle of an unprecedented medical crisis, South Africa needs all the help it can get. But spending almost a quarter-of-a-billion rand on a foreign workforce comes with legitimate questions – especially when the bill is being footed by the taxpayer.


The salaries for each medical professionals include:

A total of 116 family physicians are set to earn R172 million between them – or R1.48 million per person.

There are 32 “health technologists” who will pocket nearly R26 million, at a wage of R812 500 each.

The taxpayer will fund the salaries of 18 epidemiologists, each earning R817 540 for their time here.

Just over R2.7 million will be paid to five biomedical engineers.
Two public health specialists will pocket R1.15 million each during their tenure in Mzansi.

And finally, one Cuban nurse is set for a state-funded payment of R528 000.
Other salaries and positions have not been disclosed.


Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has defended the decision, stating that the doctors and health experts are incredibly well-trained and bring a wealth of knowledge to the country’s medical front-line.

But the method of funding for the Cuban doctors – and what it says about our own healthcare system – stands out above all else.

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