Where’s everyone going? Behind SA’s new skills exodus
The number of South Africans, of all races, who are leaving the country seems to be on the rise. Young professionals who are worried about the future of their careers and children are leaving for what they believe are greener pastures. Where are they headed, how are they doing it and what is the impact on the SA tax base and skills?
Lungelo Magubane is probably what former president Thabo Mbeki had in mind when he sought to build up a prosperous and confident black middle class. The 30-year-old lawyer was recently named an associate at the SA arm of a global specialist in mergers and acquisitions, before which he served as group legal head at Robert Gumede’s IT firm, Gijima, and before that, at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. He is the type of citizen most countries strive to keep: educated, self-sufficient, ambitious … yet he is thinking of emigrating.Magubane has structured his life in such a way that he owns neither a car nor a house – he Ubers everywhere and rents so that he can leave at a moment’s notice. He says: "If I felt there were a bright future … that I could be anything and everything I wanted to be, here, then I would stay." Instead, the frustrations of government incompetence, corruption and economic decline that have marked the decade under Jacob Zuma’s rule are starting to tell. "If I rewind to...