We’re run­ning out of WHITES

White pro­fes­sion­als and young peo­ple are leav­ing SA at a rapid rate as po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty mounts

CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO and JO­HAN EYBERS news@city­press.co.za MIL­LION 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 Black White Coloure4 Asian 5 3 956 000 1257000 0 517 000 148 000 45 109 881

About half a mil­lion white South Africans have left the coun­try in the past three decades, and Stats SA es­ti­mates that a fur­ther 112 740 will em­i­grate in the next five years. The white pop­u­la­tion is also age­ing as younger peo­ple are mostly the ones who go, leav­ing their par­ents be­hind. Pop­u­la­tion growth es­ti­mates show that the white pop­u­la­tion de­clined by 22 250 peo­ple, from 4.52 mil­lion in 2016 to 4.49 mil­lion in 2017. Over the same pe­riod, the to­tal pop­u­la­tion in­creased by 900 000 to 56.62 mil­lion.

Frans Cronjé of the In­sti­tute of Race Re­la­tions said the white pop­u­la­tion struc­ture re­sem­bled an hour­glass af­ter 1994, when many be­tween the ages of 20 and 40 em­i­grated. Since then, the bot­tom and top parts of the hour­glass have shrunk, be­cause the white peo­ple who re­mained had fewer chil­dren.

Though Stats SA couldn’t say why whites were leav­ing, em­i­gra­tion agen­cies be­lieve po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, crime and un­cer­tainty are rea­sons cited for leav­ing. Emma Wal­dorf, se­nior con­sul­tant at Com­pass Mi­gra­tion, ex­plained: “Of late, the rea­sons for the in­crease in em­i­gra­tion are sim­ply po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, safety rea­sons and un­cer­tainty about the fu­ture.”

Reu­ven Abeshouse, mi­gra­tion agent at Mi­gra­tion 2 OZ, at­tested to this, adding that en­quiries about mi­grat­ing to Aus­tralia have in­creased in the past two years.

“The com­mon rea­son clients ad­vance is that there is no cer­tainty about the fu­ture of South Africa, so they would rather leave while they still can. Many also cite that they are wor­ried that their chil­dren may not have the op­por­tu­ni­ties that they had be­cause of what is go­ing on in the coun­try, es­pe­cially with the pol­i­tics and poli­cies around black em­pow­er­ment,” he said.

Wal­dorf said her Cape Town-based agency has also seen an in­crease in those want­ing to leave, par­tic­u­larly to Aus­tralia, Canada, the UK, Ire­land and the US.

“There is cer­tainly an in­crease in the num­ber of queries we re­ceive as each month goes by, but not all can­di­dates qual­ify to go over­seas and need to find jobs first. We are also find­ing that it is not only white peo­ple want­ing to em­i­grate, we are in­creas­ingly get­ting queries from clients that are black, coloured and In­dian.”

She also said those who were leav­ing were skilled pro­fes­sion­als, trades­peo­ple, en­trepreneurs and ex­pe­ri­enced cor­po­rate em­ploy­ees.

“We are quickly los­ing all our skilled work­ers. One op­tion for South Africa is to em­ploy a for­eign work­force to con­tinue grow­ing our econ­omy and we all know how many South Africans feel about that,” Wal­dorf said.

“To un­der­stand the vast­ness of this: English lan­guage test­ing cen­tres around South Africa are con­tin­u­ously fully booked. This is be­cause ap­pli­cants need to com­plete an English lan­guage test to qual­ify to em­i­grate. It takes months to get a spot to write this test, so this is a cause for con­cern.”

Abeshouse also said those who de­cide to leave haven’t made a snap de­ci­sion. “Most have been think­ing about it for years, but cur­rent af­fairs of­ten push them to make that fi­nal call.”

Have you con­sid­ered em­i­grat­ing? If yes, why? If no, why not?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word EM­I­GRATE and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50 SA’s pophlatIon: 1910-2016

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