The White Exodus from South Africa - part 2

Johannesburg - A leading South African think-tank called on the
government on Tuesday to halt an exodus of skilled whites, saying their
departure could prove fatal for the country's economy.

Africa's economic powerhouse suffers from an acute lack of skilled
workers in both the private and the public sector, a problem the group
said was exacerbated by what it called misconceived legislation designed
to boost jobs for blacks.

"The country is very seriously short of skills - there could be
potentially fatal consequences for economic growth," John Kane-Berman,
chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations
(SAIRR), said in an interview on Tuesday.

The African National Congress-led government, which took power in 1994,
has sought to remedy apartheid-era injustices that discriminated against
blacks by introducing an affirmative action programme.

Poor quality education threatens economic growth

The white population in South Africa declined by 841,000 between 1995
and 2005, the biggest drop in at least 50 years, according to SAIRR,
which was formed in 1929 to promote democracy and improve race relations
in South Africa.

*"The (affirmative action) legislation was entirely misconceived. The
reason* * **there aren't so many blacks in managerial positions is lack
of supply not* * **lack of demand. There are not sufficiently qualified
black people," Kane-Berman said.*

Government officials were not immediately available to comment on the

While many whites complain about affirmative action, blacks say there is
a lack of educational opportunities.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor said last week poor quality education
in public schools threatened long-term economic growth.

Exodus of skilled South Africans is a serious problem

*Whites, who have always been a minority in South Africa, now account
for 9%* * **of the estimated population of 45 million people, down from
25% in 1995,* * **according to the think-tank, which based its analysis
on official data. *

*The government cannot confirm the rate of the exodus because it
stopped* * **publishing emigration figures in 2004.*

"The heads of families are emigrating. They're professionals and they're
taking their kids with them. We cannot afford to lose those skills,"
said Kane-Berman, an outspoken voice against apartheid whose group
continues to monitor race relations.

*Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka recently acknowledged the
exodus of* * **skilled South Africans was a serious problem and that the
government was* * **taking steps to encourage people to remain or return
to the country. *


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