Brain drain, emigration worsens in South Africa



Students protests, bad governance take toll on rainbow nation


By Lukmon Akintola


Concern is mounting over the future of South Africa as massive numbers of people from within the South African middle class are currently considering and taking up the option of brain drain and voluntary emigration to Europe, North America and other parts of the world, The Difference has learnt.

While many factors are being adduced for the crisis, analysts say the two principal culprits are the long-drawn #Feesmustfall student protests as well as the continuing political and economic brickbats involving resident Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and the Gupta family.

Indeed, sources say that the students unrest is by itself causing a fresh wave of capital flight. Noted the South African analyst and commentator and editor of ‘My contacts in the city of London say since universities started burning, there has been a surge in requests from South Africans to move money offshore.

But this time the middle class is panicking. Nothing frightens a parent more than the thought of not being able to offer their children a better chance than they had. For many, that’s the entire purpose of their existence.’

Exploring the point further, Hogg points to even more unintended consequence:

‘Problem is, for foreign students, a year at a modestly ranked Western university costs upwards of R600 000. In after-tax money. And, worse, those who study abroad have a nasty habit of actually staying on in their new geographies.

So as university exams get cancelled in the name of decolonising education, an unintended consequence is the export of another chunk of SA’s future tax base. Talk about shooting off your own foot.’

Already, the long-drawn state of anomie in the country, which has even polarized the ruling African National Congress party down the middle with factions respectively lining up behind resident Jacob Zuma and Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa has already joined other factors in ensuring South Africa’s displacement one more time by regional rivals, Nigeria, for the symbolic position of ‘leading economy on the African continent by GDP numbers.’

The concensus across South Africa today is that the nation’s first post-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela would clearly not have been pleased by what his successors in office are doing to the great legacy he had laboured to build and enthrone.

The hope is that the country’s political and business elite would rise to the challenge of turning things around in good time before the nation is afflicted with the same distasteful bug of leadership hiatus that has since seen neighbouring Zimbabwe turn from being Southern Africa’s ‘bread basket’ to becoming the sick man of the region with massive levels of voluntary and forced emigration, capital flight, brain drain, hyperinflation and economic stagnation.  


South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa


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