Letter: A hefty push - Daily Dispatch

May 31, 2023
The article "New Race Quotas Need More Consultation" (DD May 17) refers. It is a huge challenge to build and maintain the skilled workforces that less affluent countries need to drive their development.
Letter: A hefty push - Daily Dispatch

The article "New Race Quotas Need More Consultation" (DD May 17) refers. It is a huge challenge to build and maintain the skilled workforces that less affluent countries need to drive their development.

Opportunities for those with in-demand skills are global, from plumbers or programmers. When these offer a prosperous life in a wealthy society, the benefits of mature infrastructure and a secure future for one's children, the incentives for migration are obvious.

For many of Africa's educated and aspirant people, migration to a "developed" country is a way up. This takes its toll on the continent's prospects.

Yet, migration is often driven in no small measure by a failure of African countries to offer the fulfilling life its people seek. This is the case for SA too. Emigration of the high net worth and highly skilled, now a multiracial, multicultural phenomenon, is a debilitating problem.

SA cannot afford to lose its skills, entrepreneurs and taxpayers. Fears about the future exert a hefty push on those contemplating leaving: crime, state incompetence, corruption, race-baiting populism, subpar education, the electricity crisis, all manifesting in an economy where growth and job creation have flatlined. The future looks bleak indeed.

This course is sometimes deliberately chosen. The recent Employment Equity Amendment Act and its draft regulations dozens of pages of bureaucratically formulated percentages establishes quotas backed by fines calculated to ruin companies that do not comply. This says a great deal about the government's priorities. It will make doing business even more difficult than it is now.

Expect the deficit of jobs to grow, and the deficit of optimism to grow even more sharply and the incentives for exit to grow too. It is crucial to address the relevance of skills in the new age. But SA is recklessly pushing itself to a point where those might never be created.

Nicholas Lorimer

Institute of Race Relations 

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