Friday, July 25, 2008
Black and mixed-race South Africans are growing increasingly weary of political and social uncertainty and are seriously considering emigrating
Independent think tank FutureFact, surveying 2,500 South Africans from all walks of life, found the number of people seriously considering leaving the country had risen from 18% in 2000 to 39% in 2007. "What is incredibly interesting is this exodus mentality is now found across the board in terms of racial divide with 38% of blacks now in agreement and 42% of coloreds," Debbie Milne, one of the authors of the report. "Obviously this is a value statement as not everyone can afford to leave, but it tells us about people's sense of unease in the country." Emigration from South Africa has largely been the domain of the white population, who have left in large numbers since the fall of white-minority rule amid mounting crime and in search of better economic opportunities. Milne said when the organization first started the survey in 1998, the black population in the fledgling democracy was highly optimistic. She said recent political developments and "a lot of unhappiness and loss of confidence in (President) Thabo Mbeki across the race groups" had unsettled the country. "People are very concerned about the future political sphere. The other (factor) is also crime, we find when we cross tab those wanting to leave and those who have been victims of crime they are often one and the same." South Africa has one of the world's highest crime rates with some 50 people murdered a day. The country's next president is likely to be newly elected African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, who goes to trial for corruption early in August 2008.