SA, Cuba to strengthen relations

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers will on Monday co-chair the 13th Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) with his Cuban counterpart Marcelino Medina GonzA�lez, in Pretoria.

"South Africa is a beneficiary of Cuba's on-going assistance in support of the five priorities of the South African Government, through joint programmes in health, labour, defence, social development, housing and infrastructure," the department said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the department, one of the success stories is the extensive cooperation between South Africa and Cuba regarding skills development and training, wherein over 501 South Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds have graduated as medical doctors, providing much needed primary healthcare services to their local communities.

In addition, the deployment of Cuban doctors, engineers and technical experts across South African provinces is a further demonstration of strong bilateral relations between the two countries.

"The South Africa-Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism is conducted against a background of solid bilateral and fraternal ties between the two countries that go beyond the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in May 1994.

"The two countries agreed during the 12th Joint Consultative Mechanism in October 2015 in Cuba that, the year 2016 will be celebrated as the 20th Anniversary of bilateral cooperation," the department said.

To mark South Africa-Cuba 20th celebrations on bilateral cooperation between the two countries, First Deputy Minister Medina and Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha will unveil two of Limpopo Department of Health buildings in honour of the two Cuban revolutionary leaders, former President of Cuba Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara today in Polokwane.

DIRCO will also use the opportunity by hosting a ceremony and reception at Freedom Park and a panel discussion on the status of SA/Cuba relations and South-South Cooperation.

SOURCE: Government Communication and information System

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