I’m an optimist by nature but there are moments when you just want to give up. You may not know this but if you’re a foreigner and you want to come and live in SA you have to have a “critical skill”. There’s a list and if the thing you’re really good and experienced at isn’t on the list, you can’t come here. The last list was drawn up in 2014.

Since then, and particularly in the past two years, skills have been draining out of SA faster than the eye can see. Doctors, engineers, teachers are all heading off. One of our big banks reckons that a third of children leaving private schools are doing so because of emigration, and a third of that third are black. Now a draft of a new critical skills list is being circulated and, guess what? It is much shorter than the last one. Yes! We apparently need fewer critical skills now than we did five years ago, according to home affairs. I knew governments were stupid, but this is a whole new level. The critical skills list is curated by home affairs but is drawn up in consultation with the department of labour and the department of higher education and training. It’s hard to imagine two departments less in touch with the economic crisis we face. OK, women and children and sport maybe. It is really labour that rules. For instance, at the top of the list submitted by the department of hi...

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