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My reasons for leaving South Africa


Emille
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Some of the reasons why I am going

First of all I have to say 3 basic things: no 1: it’s a private choice for me to decide to emigrate, and it’s a private choice for you to choose to stay. We all need to make our own choices, we all have our own circumstances, our own destinies and our own personalities. No 2: nobody leaves this country, and especially this city, because they don’t love it, or because it’s not beautiful, or because it does not have advantages/positives. In fact it’s a very traumatic and sad thing to do- because you never get rid of your longing for the country and your loved ones until you die. No 3: I don’t criticize people for staying and I expect them not to criticize or even argue me for going. At the end those going will have to live with the consequences, and those staying have to live with the consequences.

That said, I can only share my point of view and my reasons, as I said it’s a personal issue:

The issues in this country are not just crime or hatred it is complex. Everybody ask me ‘why are we emigrating’ and it is exactly my answer every time: “it’s not just because of one reason but a whole lot of reasonsâ€. I will mention a few:

1) Safety: I want to live in a country where I don’t have to live in fear for my or my family’s safety. The facts of this country are the facts of this country- it IS one of the 3 most violent countries in the world, and that cannot be argued away. The question is do you want to expose your family to that risk or don’t you. Every day 5 people are murdered in Cape Town and that is 5 too many. In fact, more people are murdered in South Africa than in any other country that is not in a war. Every 13 seconds a woman is raped in this country. Just because it hasn’t happened to you does not mean that it cannot happen to you. And no, poverty is not the reason- many many countries are far poorer (African countries, India, Brazil etc) and yet their crimes are not as violent.

I for one don’t want to expose myself, my wife and my child to that risk. I have spend over R60 000 securing my house but at the end that does not guarantee anything. The psychological and mental effect on people from seeing and hearing about murder and rape every day and the fear of crime are substantial but this cannot be measured. The government is incapable of sorting this out. Due to affirmative action, they have lost so many competent investigators that it’s a sad state of affairs.

2) Financially: financially we are getting poorer and poorer in this country. This year, our salary increase is lower than inflation, which means I am effectively worse off than a year ago. This, coupled with increased food prices, and increased petrol prices, and high interest rates, we are becoming poorer and poorer. The Rand is getting progressively weaker and weaker over time (it lost 40% to the Dollar some time ago)- in 1999 the Rand to the Pound was R8=Pound1, now it’s R15. This means that I am effectively 50% poorer (therefore although that oil prices and food prices are world wide issues, the impact on us here is so much more because our Rand is weak). Again, the government is incapable of doing something about it- they still tax petrol prices very highly and refuses to let go on this. In fact, our petrol is exported to neighbouring countries that often pays less for it than what we pay here.

3) Career: I will be in this post for the next 25 years until I retire. There is nowhere to move to- I am not interested in working anywhere else in South Africa and there are no alternatives in Cape Town. As a white male my changes of opening a private firm is zero as in policy/strategy I will never be employed by local governments, provincial governments etc due to my skin colour. Staying here to ‘contribute to the country’ sounds nice and is well meaning, but in practice it does not work like that, not for me it doesn’t. I came back from London as a highly sought-after planner in London, and thought (naively) that I will be able to make a substantial contribution here and implement/advise South Africans on the most progressive solutions to urban issues. I have not been given the opportunity to do this, in part due to my skin colour.

4) Discrimination/racism: Fact is racism is racism, sexism is sexism- whether it’s a woman being sexist against a male, or vice versa, whether it’s a black person against a white person or vice versa. But not here: Its now 15 years after Apartheid, but still any criticism of the government, or in fact of any black person, is that the race card is thrown at you. Affirmative action is still in place, and in fact its implemented incorrectly (the intention by law is that if 2 people are exactly the same ito experience and qualifications, and the one is white and the other one black, then the black should get the job). It’s been used as an excuse to discriminate against white people and against males and that is immoral; and to promote black people and women ahead of white males. The idea is to have a non-racial society and a level-playing field- when is this going to happen? If any country should actively pursue non-racialism it should be this country, but no discrimination is built into legislation. The result? Things like the energy crises (which now affects the poor because the economy is not growing as much as it would without the energy crises- direct result of affirmative action – white males with skills were fired and given packages in groves since 1994. And double standards: I mean we have organisations like Black Sash, Black Management Forum, Black Farmers Association, Black Journalist Forum etc.- yet can you imagine the outcry if you had White Sash, White Management Forum, White Farmers Association, White Journalist Forum? And so-called ‘black empowerment’ is a farce and no empowerment at all- only very few of Mbeki’s friends are getting rich to the expense of the poor. I want to be in a country where my son will have all the opportunities he can get and where he can compete on an equal footing to others of his age.

5) Wastage of money and plain incompetence: we all know the issues that need to be addressed, and yet, money is spent on things like name chances, on expensive flights and luxury hotel stays for ministers etc. ESCOM bosses should’ve been fired due to incompetence, but no, the CEO still get his 11 MILLION Rand a year. And all the executives get their bonuses. I don’t want to even think about the billions that are being wasted and stolen in this country.

6) Injustice / international relations: I don’t know if you follow the news, but South Africa ALWAYS, without exception, vote against proposals that will enforce rules on dictators etc. Examples of this is Burma, Zimbabwe, Russia’s invasion in Georgia, Iran etc. etc. too many to mention. But surely due to our history we should be champions against injustice everywhere? But no, the rule that applies here- as long as the person is not your ally, he cannot do anything wrong. Zimbabwe Zimbabwe- that’s another 15 pages and SA could if it stood up for justice sorted this problem out long before it got out of hand, but no, ZanoPF has always been an ally to the ANC and thus whatever they do cannot be wrong. Not to talk about domestic affairs- our health minister, an alcoholic, basically stole a liver from somebody that needed it more, and she continues to drink, there is absolute no justice and she still sits in her post, why? Because she’s an ally of Mbeki. I want to be part of a country which stands up for justice.

I can mention many other reasons/examples but it will end up being a book. Maybe other people can see this injustice and it does not affect them, but I cannot, it goes against my grain. I cannot longer be confronted by this every living day of my life and expose my son to it in the future, I am very very sorry. This does not include all the advantages and opportunities in Australia, but that’s a whole other topic on its own.

E

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An excellent post Emile.

I think you've pretty much summed it up for most of us.

I'm so tired of being asked the same question. I want to say to people 'why the hell do you think - cos I feel like it?".

I mean honestly - how can people even ask it any more.

What I'm also tired of, is people saying 'I'm exploring career opportunities abroad'... Sure, you just keep telling yourself and everyone else that. If you're too politically correct to give the real reason, then whatever... just don't criticise me for my reasons (as you've listed above).

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An excellent post Emile.

I think you've pretty much summed it up for most of us.

I'm so tired of being asked the same question. I want to say to people 'why the hell do you think - cos I feel like it?".

I mean honestly - how can people even ask it any more.

What I'm also tired of, is people saying 'I'm exploring career opportunities abroad'... Sure, you just keep telling yourself and everyone else that. If you're too politically correct to give the real reason, then whatever... just don't criticise me for my reasons (as you've listed above).

Thanks Leigh- I am also tired now of explaining myself. You are right it should go without saying. I am also tired of political correctness and covering things up.

I've also posted in a previous post (I think 3 posts down) films I got off Youtube- these are absolutely shocking and let my blood boil- I just want to stay quiet, show it to those who critisize me and really if they cannot see it after that then I rest my case.

All the best,

E

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Emille, well writen and I guess it covers most of our views and thoughts. For me I am tired of the constant worry about the safety of my wife and children. Enough is enough, they are what is important to me.

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When ever people ask me about leaving i like to say: I see this as a business transaction. I have certain skills that place me in demand and i have the right to sell my skills wherever i please. I have the right to sell my skills for the best package or benefits. Right now, due to many of the reasons cited in the original post i choose not to sell my skills in this market but move elsewhere. You work at Company A, and organisational culture declines and you get a better offer at Company B, you move. It is the same with working and living elsewhere. We are lucky enough to be educated and have skills and these are our passports to go anywhere in the world. Australia needs us - in essence their visa is like a lifestyle "contract" that i choose to take up. Why shouldnt my children have the best that i can offer them? I can bring them back to experience the positives of SA life.

But Emile you are fundamentally right in my view, it is absolutely your choice - and if it is any comfort those who disapprove most vocally of your decision probably would leave if they could. Many cant and that is what frightens them into their negative responses. This is why i chose not to run the country down to them or point out cold facts - they still have to live here, which is bad enough.

Al

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Emille, well writen and I guess it covers most of our views and thoughts. For me I am tired of the constant worry about the safety of my wife and children. Enough is enough, they are what is important to me.

Yes bitisbitis

They are the most precious and our main responsibility, above all else, is to keep them save.

E

Edited by Emille
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When ever people ask me about leaving i like to say: I see this as a business transaction. I have certain skills that place me in demand and i have the right to sell my skills wherever i please. I have the right to sell my skills for the best package or benefits. Right now, due to many of the reasons cited in the original post i choose not to sell my skills in this market but move elsewhere. You work at Company A, and organisational culture declines and you get a better offer at Company B, you move. It is the same with working and living elsewhere. We are lucky enough to be educated and have skills and these are our passports to go anywhere in the world. Australia needs us - in essence their visa is like a lifestyle "contract" that i choose to take up. Why shouldnt my children have the best that i can offer them? I can bring them back to experience the positives of SA life.

But Emile you are fundamentally right in my view, it is absolutely your choice - and if it is any comfort those who disapprove most vocally of your decision probably would leave if they could. Many cant and that is what frightens them into their negative responses. This is why i chose not to run the country down to them or point out cold facts - they still have to live here, which is bad enough.

Al

Hi Allison

Yes you are perfectly right. In today's 'knowledge economy' and globalisation, skilled labour is in great demand, and different countries (and cities) compete against each other for that skilled labour. If you have the skills you have something very valuable which you can choose to sell wherever you want (or in many cases, are allowed to). South Africa does not realise this (well they say the right words but sadly their actions are not in line with those- affirmative action pushes the right people away), and fact is, right in the hands of countries who truly VALUE skilled labour, like Australia.

Yes, again you are right with your second point. I dont 'like' giving the people who are staying those facts, I keep my response 'general' and limit it to 'there are many reasons why'. And I really really WANT this country to get better and improve, because there are many many decent people living here who dont have a choice. I am just greatful for the blessing that I have that I can leave. I really do envy those people who are part of 'families' emigrating- I so wish my whole family would leave, but they dont want to. But I do see it as a positive the fact that in the future I may be able to bring them over if needed.

E

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Hi again Emile

I know this isn't the correct place, and sorry for briefly hi-jacking the thread - just wanted to say I see you added me to your friends list - thanks! Sorry I can't reciprocate, but I can no longer get into my profile to do so.

Anyhoo - back to your post... thanks!

Leigh

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You have summed it up so well. Cold hard facts! I feel pity for those who do not wish to face reality in SA and rather be a ostrich with it's head in the sand. I must admit though there are days when you have doubts and just reading a post like this brings us back to reality. I just watch the news in the evening and that gets me all fired up!

I'm gonna print this post and stick it to my fridge for those uncertain days. And perhaps hand it out to those ostriches.

Blue

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Hey Blue

Great post -it's spot on. I read somewhere on this forum about someone's response to the question "...but why did you leave SA?" They said "Because I had this wonderful opportunity to come to Australia". I think that's such a cool answer. Only tonight, I heard of someone who is from SA and has just come back from an LSD. They were saying how they couldn't believe just how much some saffers they met over there slated SA.

We are leaving SA for the same reasons

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Excellent post, Emille!

I informed a group of friends last night of our plans.

The first response: I don't want to burst your bubble, but a friend of mine returned after only three months ... blah, blah, blah and so the story continues.

Response 2: Oh, so you're also one of the "hensoppers" now?

My first reaction was to lash out and defend myself and then I remembered what someone previously quoted on this forum: just smile and wave guys, just smile and wave! You've stated it so well: it's my personal choice.

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Yep Emile,

There are probably some other things each of us could add to that as a reason for leaving. Something I've also very much feared for in SA, was our road carnage and road quality. We've had 6 deaths on the Western Australians roads during the Easter weekend and the WA state government recons that the road deaths are getting out of hand and they need to do something drastic to resolve the issue. And you know what, they're getting stricter and stricter and not more lenient as in SA. I just love it. Occasionally I bump into Saffers that's frustrated by their speed limits and strict drink-and-drive rules, but they are in the minority and most accept the road rules in WA. I've always loved my beer, but I know where and when to do it. Use your brain, take the train or bus.

See ya

Edited by Almost Aussie
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Thanks all for your contribution to this post- its definately a 'universal' problem that people emigrating have when telling other people they are leaving. We actually do not have to explain ourselves...

Regards

Emille

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Something I've noticed with reactions towards emigrating, is that very often the most negative and unsupporting people are not the ones that WILL NOT leave, but the ones that CANNOT because they dont qualify. I think deep down they would probably love to leave, but are bitter because they cant. My reasons for leaving are a lot less negative, I'm going with my folks because I have the opportunity to and it would be stupid not to take it.

As i dont have a family of my own yet, the reasons mentioned in the original post does apply to me, but to a much lesser extent as i only have myself to worry about. But i do agree, I definitely dont want to start a family in RSA.

No where's that Australian prince on his white horse...

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What a great post! Thanks!

Just what the tired soul needed today. Last week I said good bye to all my kids (I teach - or I used too) and I was supposed to attend a huge church dinner on the saturday night but could not face more questions and good byes that week. So I called in and cancelled and took DH out for dinner instead. We had such a lovely chat and deramed about Brisbane and our life there. It was the recharge I needed to face the world again on Sunday ;)

Your post today has reminded me of all the reasons why it makes sense to go - Thanks!

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Nicely put Emille.

In addition to everything you mentioned, I think that another big factor for my wife and I wanting to get out of SA is the complete and utter lawlesness on the roads. It started a few years ago with a few mini-bus taxi's driving in the emergency lane. Nowadays, you can sit in a traffic jam and all you see are people breaking the rules of the road. I have no problem with bad traffic, but it is driving me insane watching dozens of motorists everyday driving in the yellow lane or on the shoulder of the road, not stopping for red traffic lights, blasting through traffic circles or 4-way stops etc. I can personally feel my patience running extremely thin, to the point that I believe I am quite close to becoming a Road Rage statistic.

South Africans have become extremely aggressive and impatient, and I think a factor is the above anarchy that we experience every day on the roads, especially in Johannesburg.

Thought I would add my extra two cents ;)

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Hi Emile

'n Rede wat min mense bekommer, maar vir my wat op 'n plaas grootgeword het en weet waarvandaan melk en vleis en water kom, is die riool-probleem wat besig is om oor die hele Suid-Afrika kop uit te steek. Munisipaliteite beskik dikwels nie meer oor die kundigheid om rioolwerke te laat funksioneer nie en rou riool beland dikwels in ons grondwaterstelsels en riviere. Indien Munisipaliteite werk uitkontrakteer, word tenders toegeken aan besighede wat BEE compliant is en dikwels ook nie die kundigheid het om probleme op te los nie, maar nog steeds die werk moet doen.

Dit was die afgelope paar jaar al dikwels in die nuus dat verskillende munisipaliteite hierdie probleme ondervind, maar een van die ergstes was seker die Chrissiesmeer situasie.

Wat verskillende hofsake ook al bewys het dat 'n uitspraak van 'n hof teen die staat of 'n munisipaliteit ten gunste van 'n individu of die publiek soms doodeenvoudig geignoreer word. Hoe leef mens met soveel dubbele standaarde. Ek betaal BTW op alle produkte wat ek verbou oor aan die ontvanger, ek betaal inkomstebelasting en ek probeer waar moontlik binne die wet opereer, maar vir die persoon wat homself afvee daaraan, is daar geen gevolge nie, want hy is nie opspoorbaar of vervolgbaar nie.

Ek het nou bietjie van die punt afgedwaal, maar is hartseer oor 'n pragtige land soos Suid-Afrika, wat sonder enig ag op die toekoms, in die grond in bestuur word deur 'n grootliks korrupte regering.

Soos 'n landros 'n paar weke gelede aan my noem: Hy stuur 'n krimineel op grond van die bewyse voor hom vir 'n sekere aantal jare tronk toe. 'n Korrektiewe beampte besluit dat die tronk te vol is en om die versoon op 'n vervroegde parool te stuur terwyl daar 'n GOEIE rede was waarom hy in die eerste plek in die tronk was vir 'n spesifieke termyn.

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Hi, couldn't agree with your more. I told a friend the other day that we are emigrating and she wanted to know if some criminal or violent thing has happened to us to make us leave. It seems people think its reasonable to emigrate if something bad has happened to you, but otherwise its "why are you going?" Should we rather stay and wait until something does happen to us? Strange way to think. We live in East London which has been fairly safe until recently, but now everyday someone is getting killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I would rather miss the country, than miss one of my children or my husband.

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A well-written article, Emile, very informative.

You stated current issues well, and something that runs like a fine thread through this whole thread is that a large section of the current South African population have become strangers in the land of their birth.

The essence of AA as it stands in South Africa at this moment, is that it is anologeous of sending children to do the work of adults.

Cheers,

Dax

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Emille,

I think the fact that you got so many favourable responses means you 'put it all in a nutshell' and summed up all the reasons/emotions we are all going through.

My husband was a reluctant participant when I applied last year, I was approved in August and what a turnaround, last night he was arguing with our closest friends about the safety of their daughters and the fact that it aint happened to you yet- you may be playing russian roulette with your families lives. I work in the Corporate world and I am actually starting up a website trying to find contractors(white males 'past due') work because they are capable and willing but the market will not accommodate them just like me because I am considered past due. And the permanent staff cant do the work or have a terrible attitude!

I am tired of baggage I just want to live my life and watch my children grow up, have fair opportunities and grow old. What do other people worry about in other countries?

Once a Capetonian always a Stormers fan at heart.

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I was talking to my factory workers on Friday, saying how well they work as a team and that they should stay at the factory and keep the team together balh blah blah, at which point one of the workers said that they liked working for me and jokingly said I must'nt leave for Australia or anything like that! Mentioning how their previuos employer left for Aus and they lost their jobs. (Well we leave for Aus on the 3rd of Jan) What do you tell them? they fear that by me leaving thay may lose their jobs! (It wont happen). These people are'nt my friends or family, they rely on me for their salaries.

I must say I feel badly for them, and I'm sure there are hundreds of other employers leaving and their staff must be just as worried. Not all blacks in this land want us to go, even though somedays it feels like it. No alot of Blacks are very concerned about us leaving, and you cant go tell them that your leaving for AA, your already thier boss. You cant say economics! you drive a car and they walk. They dont want to hear about crime, the townships have it worse in most cases. And dont even compare the education your kids get compared to theirs! Its defenately not an easy thing to say to them.

Off course I'll leave one day and they'll find out why, but they will still have their jobs and life will go on. But when compared to facing minimum wage workers giving you thier all everyday, depending on you for money for their kids, and just hoping to have a job next year, telling a few friends your going is a piece of cake!

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