South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke today about the military cooperation existing between his country and Cuba since 2015, known as Operation Thusano.
In a speech on the occasion of the Day of the Armed Forces of this nation held in Kimberly, province of Northern Cape, the Head of State and Government explained that this collaboration includes the maintenance and repair of the vehicles fleet of the South Africa National Defense Forces (SANDF).
He noted that since the beginning of this assistance between South Africa and Cuba more than four thousand vehicles have been fixed and several workshops revived.
In this regard, he noted that 446 South Africans have reached the category of apprentices and 395 that of technicians through the transfer of practical knowledge by Cubans.
He recalled that in his recent Speech to the Nation he announced that he will shortly visit the leading board of national departments (ministries) to see 'how can we work together to speed up the urgent needs of services, training and job creation.'
At the ceremony, which was also chaired by the Defense Minister and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula; and the SANDF's chief, General Solly Shoke, among other officials, the Cuban ambassador in South Africa, Rodolfo Benites also attended the meeting as special guest.
The Day of the Armed Forces of South Africa was instituted in 2012 to remember that day in 1917 when the vessel SS Mendi was sunk during the First World War (1914-1918), with 883 members of the fifth battalion of the Native Workers' Corps of South Africa in France. 600 black soldiers died there, said Ramaphosa.
This is a day when we remember the bravery of soldiers prepared to fight in a war that was not theirs, he said.