By Stephanie Nieuwoudt
CAPE TOWN, Apr 28 (IPS) - For more than a decade, Cuban doctors have filled part of a gap left by South African doctors who in large numbers leave the country looking for better salaries and employment opportunities.
According to Fidel Radebe, director of communications for South Africa’s department of health, there are currently 134 Cuban doctors in the country working under a government-to-government agreement between Cuba and South Africa.
The first Cuban doctors who came to the country under this agreement arrived in 1996 -- two years after the African National Congress (ANC) came to power.
Socialist Cuba was a firm supporter of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, and the ANC and other leftwing movements in South Africa always had a natural affinity for Cuba’s stated struggle against "neo imperialism."