Crime is keeping us away - expats

Jul 18 2013 21:17
Cape Town - Crime and politics seem to be some of the main reasons many South African expats are hesitant to return home.

This runs like a golden thread through comments from Fin24 users living abroad, who were reacting to a recent article which stated that many highly skilled expats would like to return home, and feel their skills could benefit South Africa.

Beau Barfknecht does not believe this research reflects the real picture. He wrote: "Very few expats wish to return to this country until the current political and service delivery mess is remedied."

Self-made businessman Jean le Riche, who currently lives in the UK, said: "My heart aches to be in SA, but I can't see myself moving back for a few simple reasons:

  • The disrespect for life in SA;
  • The fact that there seems to be no future for my children and grandchildren, being white - and on top of that the level of education is deteriorating;
  • I'm not prepared to forcefully share my business under BEE, with someone hardly more South African (African) than me, for free;
  • Labour laws create an obstacle to business development;
  • The division between rich and poor is huge and while a small percentage of the population feeds the tax system, the benefits never seem to reach the poor, rather lining the corrupt ones' endless pockets."
Justin Woolford is another expat living in the UK who feels the lure of strong ties to home. Would he return to his home country? "Yes, of course I would."

He has been living in the UK, where he has gained experience, contacts and "first world business savvy over the past four years". 

He wrote: "Being in the sports industry, I have many clients in SA, drawing me ever closer to home. The only hindrance is crime and politics.

"Many of us expats have foreign girlfriends or wives and children, and I think the risk is a lot higher when making the decision to return.

"My girlfriend and I are 100% planning to return to SA - however, the master question is when.

"There is so much SA talent living abroad, and just this year alone I have had over six farewells of friends relocating back to SA.

"Some of them had been in the UK for about ten years. So, I am positive the 'brain gain' has already begun."

Gerrard Botha has been living in New Zealand for the past seven years and loves it there. He still feels emotional about all things South African, yet is not considering returning to SA, apart from family visits.

He wrote: "New Zealand is not a place to get rich, but surely a different lifestyle than SA. Our kids have a better education and much more opportunities to better themselves. There is crime, but not close to SA standards.

"Nope, as much as I love South Africa, with tears in my eyes I will be applying for NZ citizenship very shortly."

Christine Jordaan has the last word. She wrote: "If SA can sort out crime so that all cultures and races feel safe in their beds at night... many, many South Africans would love to return".

- Fin24


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