South African Parliamentarians Ask for Information About the Beating of Students in Cuba

The moment when a PNR agent grabs a South African student by the neck at the University of Villa Clara. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 December 2021 — South Africa continues unhurriedly waiting for explanations from the Villa Clara University authorities after the incident that occurred last November in which several young medical students from their country were beaten by the Cuban police when they were holding a party that got out of control.

Sibongiseni Dhlomo, South African Deputy Minister of Health, intervened this Tuesday in Cape Town before a commission of the National Council of Provinces (upper house of Parliament), where he was asked about the investigation he had announced a few days after the event. The politician said that his government is still waiting for an explanation, but alleged that the students were demanding one from him.

“The students were beaten up by the police on campus during a birthday party that was supposed to start at 7:00 p.m., but it finally started at 9:00 p.m. and lasted until the wee hours of the morning. It is not yet known who called the police, but the students say the officers asked them to turn the music down because it was too loud at that hour,” he said.

According to Dhlomo, the Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences reported the incident to the provincial leadership, which has established a commission to investigate the matter. “We will await the results. We will meet with the attaché in Cuba this week,” he said.

The event came to light thanks to a video shared in a massive way to denounce the exaggerated violence with which the National Revolutionary Police put down the party in the Santa Clara shelter where it took place.

“Walk, come on, upstairs!” the police said to the young people. “Record video, record video!” an English voice was heard saying.

After the controversy generated by the images that showed the excessive force of the Cuban police, the South African Ministry of Health assured that it would investigate what happened after confirming that those beaten were citizens of their country. However, they apparently trust the Cuban side to find out what happened.

On Tuesday, South African parliamentarians asked Dhlomo what his government had done to ensure the safety of South African students abroad, but his answer made no reference to it.

Dhlomo had made controversial statements last month, when he asked that the “sensationalist” video of the beaten fellows not continued to be shared. The official warned that its dissemination had “the potential to harm the families of the students and the diplomatic relations between the governments of South Africa and Cuba.”

Relations between the two countries have been very fruitful since the time of Nelson Mandela, although they have continued with their successors in office, all members of the hitherto unbeatable African National Congress party, which in the last elections began to take their toll on cases of known corruption these years, something that was noticed in the loss of votes despite maintaining the victory.

This same week, Cuba and South Africa renewed their cooperation agreement in the management of water resources and the supply of water, by virtue of which Cuban engineers advise those of South Africa to improve the maintenance and management of water supply and sanitation infrastructures. especially in rural areas and other disadvantaged communities.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.