Fleeing from South Africa

WORLD AFFAIRS - From Newsweek.....
*Fleeing From South Africa <http://www.newsweek.com/id/184783> *
Fourteen years after apartheid, why are the best and the brightest
leaving Africa's most successful state?

No one should be surprised to read that Zimbabwe
<http://www.newsweek.com/related.aspx?subject=Zimbabwe> has suffered
massive emigration in recent years, especially among its white minority.
But much less expected is the fact that next-door South Africa
<http://www.newsweek.com/related.aspx?subject=South+Africa>, the
continent's wealthiest and most developed country, is suffering a brain
drain of its own (if on a smaller scale).

The South African government doesn't keep reliable emigration
statistics. But even as the global financial crisis has caused
emigration from most other countries to slow, a number of recent
independent studies show that mass departures from South Africa are
ongoing and are sapping the nation of its skilled and best-educated
young citizens. The most dramatic figures can be found among South
African whites, who are leaving at a pace consistent with the advent of
"widespread disease, mass natural disasters or large-scale civil
conflict," according to a report by the South African Institute on Race
Relations. Some 800,000 out of a total white population of 4 million
have left since 1995, by one count. But they're hardly alone. Blacks,
coloureds (as people of mixed race are known in South Africa) and
Indians are also expressing the desire to leave. In the last 12 years,
the number of blacks graduating in South Africa with advanced degrees
has grown from 361,000 to 1.4 million a year. But in that time the
number of those expressing high hopes to emigrate has doubled.
This wasn't supposed to happen. In many ways, the new South Africa has
lived up to its promise of racial harmony and equitable development; its
enlightened Constitution, progressive economic policies, and wealth of
human and natural resources have all kept it relatively stable since
apartheid was swept away in 1994. But that stability could be
jeopardised if its human capital keeps leaving at the current rate.
South Africa has undergone massive swings in emigration for decades,
including since the end of white rule. The shifts can be linked to
changes in political stability and economic opportunity, as well as less
worrisome factors like simple wanderlust. And all these same factors are
at work now, but they've been accentuated by a violent crime epidemic,
serious political upheaval and economic globalisation. A poll conducted
last May among 600 people of different races, ages and genders found
that 20 percent were planning to leave the country. "We are now seeing a
new tipping point for an exodus," warned another report from Future
Fact, a polling agency. "But this time [it's] across-the-board in terms
of race."

Still another factor driving out citizens of all races is the country's
political crisis. National elections are due in April, and the likely
next president, Jacob Zuma, faces a battery of serious corruption
charges and accusations of autocratic behaviour. Zuma's ruling ANC party
has been split by a rebellion of former loyalists, and increasing
numbers of South Africans express concern with the health of their young
democracy. The leadership vacuum has also distracted attention from
pressing national concerns like energy. Last spring the country was
engulfed in rolling "brownouts" as the electric grid ground to a halt
because of mismanagement.
For all these reasons, even the global economic slowdown hasn't been
enough to keep qualified South Africans at home. Of the country's 25,000
registered accountants, fully a quarter now live overseas. Engineers,
doctors, nurses and accountants are all in increasingly short supply. In
February, Health Minister Barbara Hogan said South Africa's doctors are
"constantly being poached" by places like Canada, Australia and the
United States—among the most popular destinations for wealthy white
émigrés. Banks and investment companies are forced to look for talent
overseas, and Eskom, the disgraced national electricity provider, has
recently begun scrambling to attract electrical engineers back home, but
with little success.
The long-term effects of this exodus are already being felt in other
critical ways. The vast majority of South Africa's emigrants are also
the country's best and brightest. Compounding the problem is the fact
that while South Africa has lenient policies toward admitting refugees
from elsewhere in Africa, the import of skilled labour is still quite
onerous—meaning that as more and more trained workers leave, there are
fewer and fewer replacements. Pretoria needs new policies to balance
these flows, says Debbie Milner of Future Fact. "Africa has a huge
amount of skilled people in it, and many other African countries have
better education systems than our own."

To succeed, post-racial South Africa also needs to move nonwhite
professionals quickly up the ranks in all sectors of its economy, and
the government's black-empowerment plan centres on ensuring that more of
its citizens get advanced degrees. But as growing numbers of these
graduates express a desire to follow their white colleagues out the
door, the prospects for continued economic empowerment are dimming. "We
were dumbfounded by the incredibly high numbers of people who claim
they're seriously considering leaving South Africa," Milner says. While
unemployment for whites has increased more than 100 percent since the
end of apartheid, it remains as low as an average European country,
between 7 percent and 8 percent. Joblessness among blacks, on the other
hand, is hovering at around 50 percent. "If the qualified nonwhites are
leaving too, that is pretty dire for black economic empowerment," Milner
To be fair, not all the signs point in one direction. The global
economic downturn has led to anecdotal reports of South Africans
returning from the once hot economies of Europe and North America.
Others who were recently on the verge of leaving have now decided to
stay put, in some cases when their offers were rescinded at the last
moment. "I don't dispute that people have left—I just dispute the high
figures," says Martine Schaffer of the Homecoming Revolution, an NGO
that helps returnees with logistical difficulties and to get
reacquainted with a country that may have changed significantly in their
absence. "Nothing indicates that they've all emigrated permanently."
That may be true. But if Pretoria hopes to drive development, it needs
to act fast to keep the South African exodus from gaining momentum. For
starters, the new president should make fighting crime a priority. South
Africa's affirmative-action program should also be re-examined and
tweaked, perhaps to emphasise economic status rather than race. Whites
between the ages of 20 and 35—currently the group most susceptible to
emigration—should be allowed to compete more forcefully for jobs. Such
measures won't stop emigration entirely, certainly not while the
country's leadership crisis continues. But South Africa faces no great
new natural disaster or a war. Its vital statistics need to begin to
reflect that.
/© 2009/

*Posted By: JABULANI @ 02/23/2009 2:35:57 PM*
Great stuff Frank, now what are you doing about the situation there
......... or are you one of those who is making so much money, that you
can afford to be oblivious of the suffering.
Since Mbeki's ANC took over, the rich have got richer and the poor,
poorer, and only the rich behind high walls in secure compounds live
well there.
It is time all South Africans stood up and rebelled against the terrible
tirade of ANC incompetence and contrived selfish evil.
The days of feeling guilty about apartheid are over, save the beloved
country ....... many Blacks there are declaring that life was actually
better under the old regime .......... no one is suggesting a return to
apartheid, it was as stupid bizarre attempt to enforce racialism !
What you have now is black on black violence and discrimination, the
whites are suffering too, but it is those poor people that waited so
long for democracy, those previously most affected by apartheid that are
suffering. They are stuck in S'Africa, can't afford to travel, can't
emigrate like whites ......... Frank if you can afford to live well in
the country, you have a vested interest in saving it.
Don't let the ANC ruin what has been built up over many tortuous years.
Save it for the people who deserve it the most ....... .

*Posted By: JABULANI @ 02/23/2009 6:58:08 AM*
Aah the legacy of apartheid, when will be put to rest? Only now is the
legacy of Mbeki's ANC regime being revealed. The demise of over 300,000
HIV/AIDS sufferers who could have been saved, were it not for his
ignorance or Stalinistic disregard.
It is not just white people that are fleeing South Africa, many Blacks,
Indians and Coloureds have forsaken the beloved country in despair of
the future . Evil thrives where good men do nothing.

*Posted By: Frank_S @ 02/23/2009 10:41:10 AM*
This is such an unbalanced view. I am sorry, but as a white South
African that has travelled and worked abroad, nothing can chase me away
from this great country. The opportunities are great and we experience a
lot of positive growth in many sectors. As for those who are so negative
and pessimistic, please go live elsewhere and try and maintain the same
quality of life. Crime happens in every single country in the world.
Although we have to be vigilant in most cases, I really believe that the
crime topic is blown out of context by the many Africa-pessimist that
just love to belittle the progress that Africa is trying to achieve
after centuries of colonial rule.


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