Watch: SA Students Assaulted in Cuba

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is investigating a confrontation between Cuban police and a group of South African medical students living there.

In a video widely circulating on social media, a group of students are seen being manhandled by the Cuban authorities.

In the 30 second clip, a man believed to be a student can be seen sitting on a couch with his hands tied behind his back, while an officer grabs him by the neck and shoulder while slapping him on his chest.

 

At least two other students were slapped through the face during the short video clip, while officers dragged another man away, amidst loud screams of protests.

 

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the department of health, Foster Mohale said an investigation into the “unfortunate” incident is under way.

 

“The department, working closely with the department of international relations and co-operation, and other relevant authorities has initiated a process to investigate circumstances which led to this unfortunate incident. The findings of the investigation will be communicated to all the affected parties, including families of the students,” Mohale said.

 

Deputy minister of health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo has appealed to community members to avoid “sensationalising” the video.

“The deputy minister of health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has appealed to members of the public to desist from sensationalising the video clip as it has potential to harm the families of the students and diplomatic relations between South African and Cuban governments,” Mohale said.

 

In recent years, the DA has said that the annual cost of training medical students under the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme between South Africa and Cuba that started in 1997, is more than double what it would amount to at a local medical school.