What's that stink?
Posted by Iain on Aug. 23, 2012, 10:16 a.m. in Immigration
My apologies for no Southern Man Letter last week. Call it a technical hitch while in Johannesburg. I hope you missed me.
What a week it has been here in South Africa which has once again made international headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In the past few days striking platinum miners have managed to butcher a policeman who they hacked to death. They went on to kill a second policeman, killed 8 fellow miners in intra-union clashes and of course then came the slaughter of 34 strikers by police, cut down in a hail of automatic weapon fire.
Watching the horror unfold on TV the world it seems has been totally shocked by scenes that looked like the D-Day landings with miners being cut down as they appeared to charge toward police lines.
Not something one might have expected in a ‘democratic’ South Africa.
Or is it?
South Africa is a one party state. One party because that is what the people have voted for.
The place is sinking into a cesspit of Government lead corruption. Of Union leaders agitating for more. Of mines that are marginally profitable. Of desperate people with little left to lose.
It is an incredibly violent country at the best of times. And these are not the best of times.
For 18 years those that voted in the ANC have been promised jobs, running water, shelter and electricity and the truth is this Government appears unable to provide close to any of it for the majority of its constituents.
Over the years the newest politicians have become more radical in their speech and promises.
The ruling elite have managed to sideline the young pretender to the ANC throne, Julius Malema, but it is worth noting he was on the blood soaked ground last weekend rallying the miners and people against their Government.
All the while my potential clients sit behind their electric fences and high walls and I can but assume pretend it isn’t all going on around them.
It beggars belief that they are not all queuing up to leave.
What has genuinely shocked and horrified me is the way most South Africans have simply shrugged their shoulders (as they are want to do) and said ’Oh well, this is Africa’ and got on with their day.
I don’t think I shall ever forget last Friday morning when the country’s TV breakfast shows were broadcasting pretty graphic images of the massacre. I sat in a café watching people and the TV. No one else was watching and if they were interested, concerned, shocked or horrified they hid it pretty well.
Jam with your croissant and latte sir?
Last weekend I had the opportunity to discuss the events of the massacre with many families while I consulted and, yet again, I was stunned – no one seemed terribly upset or concerned.
Precious little thought appears to have gone into what this unrest might signify for the future of this country.
People – this is NOT normal.
This is not how societies that aspire to civility behave and this sort of thing does not happen in New Zealand or Australia. Call us dull and boring but in New Zealand our police don’t carry guns. Our miners do not strike because they want to earn a living wage, 20,000 people are not murdered every year (I was told by a police employee who should know last weekend you can actually add half as many again – the Government here actively supresses crime statistics), a woman is not reporting a rape every few minutes and our politicians do not have their faces in the public trough awarding contracts and positions to their friends and family.
These are all signs of a thoroughly rotten and dysfunctional society.
So why have the inboxes of the teams at Immagine New Zealand and Immagine Australia not been full to overflowing with ‘get me out of here’ emails this past week?
I’ve given it a lot of thought and I confess this last week here in South Africa has made me realise that although we have so much in common the differences are stark.
People here have shut down. They don’t want to see what is going on around them even less think through what it might all mean. If the lights are on and the hot water is running they are understandably desperate to believe that the events of last week may as well have happened on Mars.
Why? Human nature I guess. Until the barbarians are climbing over the walls people hope the noise outside is just a passing herd of animals.
I read a report a few days ago that said that Eskom, the state electricity provider, can only guarantee a somewhat regular supply of electricity to homes and businesses by buying back excess electricity off the mines. If the mines were using all the electricity they get, the lights would be off in suburban South Africa. Already power cuts have become part of the landscape.
Again everyone kind of shrugs and says “it doesn’t really matter, they aren’t that bad”.
I think though I get it – people see what they want to see. No one really wants to contemplate leaving their country, their friends, their family, their history. Uprooting for a life that only promises to be better. A potential new life that comes with no guarantees. It’s easier to bury your head in the sand and say that each of these events are isolated and there will be a happy ending.
But at some point surely all thinking South Africans must wake up to the reality that if the Government’s own constituency is going to start opposing them and the Government in turn is going to crush their own voters at the barrel of a gun then surely only trouble lies ahead.
But, hey, a few months ago over 50 people were killed in a strike in this country.
So last week as shocking as it was to us ‘outsiders’ was arguably not an isolated incident.
And therein lies the rub.
I have come to realise this week that if you live on a rubbish dump that grows and grows around you, you assume the whole world is covered in stinking refuse.
Till next week - The Southern Man
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We left SA just over a year ago, happily, for the UK. It took me at least a month to begin to breathe and sleep easier again. Just last month when news of that terrible family murder (including a 12 year old boy) hit the news and I was poleaxed. The thing that upset me (aside from the obvious), was the knowledge that had I seen that particular news report a year previously, it would have meant *NOTHING* to me. It would have been, "Oh, yes another family murdered," and "why, yes, I *will* have another latte thanks." It hit me, that I had been (in South Africa) a person hardened against brutality and hate to the point of numbness. The realization of just how far I had healed - hit me - in that moment. I had not realised I'd even needed that kind of healing. How many South Africans don't even know that they are going through that?
If there were a way I could assist fellow South Africans with finding new lives abroad, I would jump at the chance, because staying, with their heads in the sand, the view obscured by the sunshine and sparkling swimming pools is NOTHING compared to having a real life.
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Most of us know how bad SA is but prefer to ignore it and move on or we will be frustrated and perpetually depressed. Being in the business of immigration, you will know that it is very expensive. The average South African does not have that kind of money lying around. We therefore need to make a life here.
I could'nt agree with you more Iain, unfortuinately South African's do turn the other cheek and as long as its not happening to them they happy. We unfortunately live in a very violent and aggressive country and the truth is, it has grown on many South Africans and has become a normal way of life for many. The sound of a gunshot is part of our lives it does not scare many anymore, so last weeks events was 'shame it happened but life goes on!' I must say though that I am not that South African, I am gravely concerned for the future of this country and this is just the beginning. I am one of the South Africans screaming 'Please get me and family out of here' We are unfortunately battling to prove my husband's employment in the 80's but we have not given up and as soon as we have it, God Willing we will be out of here.
Thank you for SHAKING the tree.
When we spoke to family and friends about our intent to immigrate from SA to NZ I was surprised at their reaction. They all nodded sadly and indicated that we are doing the right thing, when asked if they don't want to do the same, they to would like to, but most do not qualify or are not in a position to do so. It is short of impossible for "Joe soap" to qualify to be allowed in to privileged states. I know for a fact that the white minority in SA are very aware of the unrighteousness that is happening in their home country and has the first hand experience. Because they are demonized and marginalized by the very likes of a "Julius Malema" they are to afraid and are effectively neutralized. Like all the people in SA they live in a state of survival. People living in constant fear have no way of bringing political pressure about.
I really hope that our fellow humans in the rest of the world will "fall out of the tree" and start to put due pressure on a corrupt ruling elite so that SA will once more be able to flourish.
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Shocking isnt it? I agree! I returned to SA in Feb. this year after living and studying in Sweden for almost 4 years. A society I would best describe as calm, ordered, beaurocratic, and more importantly SAFE!!!!I dreaded my return for years.The majority of SA's could never in there wildest dreams imagine the freedom of using public transport 24hours a day, walk the streets, play with their children in the park without the fear of fear.
I am one of those SA's who was ready to leave on the same flight wit you after attending your Cape Town seminar.Months later I am more determined than ever that New Zealand be my new home country, to work, to live and to contribute to a "fairly just" society. BUT... I came back without money and countless attempts later still unemployed.
In our miserable defence of "us passive South Africans" i must add Ian, we are aware, very aware of the very unfortunate, embarrassing, bleek situation of our country... many of us still love being SA's at heart, but deeply troubled by the world around us.
For some of us we still here because we cant afford high costs and lengthy waiting processes of immigration. We all hope of a better future, but its not in all of our scope to buy it. And attempt after attempt of going against the odds, the result leds to sometimes becoming bogged down, tired, head to the ground surviving the stresses of living and surviving another day in South Africa! Go easy on us ;)))
I keep reading your blog, to keep my dream alive of a future in a country that I dont have to feel a prisoner of.
I've been living in South Africa for all my life, with only brief visits abroad, and can definitely confirm that you see things in a completely different light once you've been out the country for a while.
It's the age old "frog in hot water" analogy, that goes something like this. If you take a frog and drop it in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out immediately. But take a frog and put it in a pot of cold water on a stove, slowly heating it to boiling point and the frog would be dead without doing a thing to try and survive.
Cruel as this may sound, it is the situation that I am in as well. Coming from the "old regime" and military conscription I was exposed to this basically since I turned 18. So you do learn to live with it and be on the lookout all the time, and I agree it is not a relaxing life.
I have been looking for employment abroad, in the IT industry, for the past 5 years. During which I've been really serious about it for all of about 6 to 8 months in that entire times. Mainly because you have small awakenings at times, and realise where you are. But then time passes and no positive results come back, so you fall right back into your nice warm pot of boiling water and think to yourself. Hey maybe it's not that bad, at least it happened to my neighbour and not me.
The sad thing is that it seems as if the international market is flooded with Ex-Pats, and it's becoming increasingly more difficult to find opportunities anywhere else if you're 40 years old with a family.
At least the "old regime" gave me some decent military training, so I can actually stand my ground and fight back. But it's the future of my children that worry me the most.
anyway. before rambling on any further about bad situations, let me sign off and make the best of a bad situation.
Thanks for the insight from the other side though.
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The most frustrating thing to me is to keep hearing people say "Oh we'll at least nobody got hurt", "Hey it could've been a lot worse", on and on. We've become so desensitised and are so comfortable living in this stench. Next thing, as the water in the pot gets hotter and hotter, we'll be saying "Oh we'll at least they died quickly and have gone off to a better place now". We too are trying to get into NZ and God willing, Air New Zealand decide to come recruit some South African pilots ;-) We know that's not going to be happening so we're looking at all other possible ways. Just pray my babies, my husband or I don't become statistics before then. Thanks Ian.
hi iain macleod
we was shocking it was to insaid country becous 48 people death wthat about as ower history is bad,all we are think south africa is week to going crush voter at the barrel a gun only trouble lies a head we need protacting help ower people soon we are requesting refuges ressttlment to new zealand our australia
we shall pay consultetion fee
i want to say thanks lot
I have a friend who moved to NZ 18 months ago as a chartered accountant. He could not find any work and had to accept a job as a construction worker digging holes in the pavement. I know of doctors having to accept jobs as personal assistant and many other cases where South Africans and other nationalities going to NZ simply cannot get work in their field with or without degree's and 10 plus years’ experience. Why don't you mention all these cases Iain? I am well aware of Iain and his talks in SA as I have been to them yet he fails to inform clients correctly. Always painting the "I know this person who found a great job" picture with "I cannot guarantee anything" quoted briefly before or after the claim! Clever con artist Iain. Another friend of mine, his dad went to NZ with a masters degree in engineering, guess what job he was able to get? His first job for the first 12 months was sanding the hull of ships. If you want to throw away your life, be my guest and go to NZ. Every country has their fair share of issues, if you want your house burgled go to NZ. Mike was right look at this site: http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/
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Do you really think the NZ Government report their crime statistics accurately? As for minimum wage there are so many cases in the local NZ news of employers paying their immigrant employees well below minimum wage. It's not legal yet they do it or do you Iain forget to mention this to everyone at the conference? Do you remember to mention the high house break in rates or the bodies found randomly in and around the country as this is only in the local news and not international news. What about the immigrants being forced into the sex trafficking business by the gangs in Auckland. You mentioned at your conference that the first 50 000 is tax free, but my friends tell me that is only the first 10 000 NZD which is tax free. Interesting that you fail to mention the fact that it is a rand figure you presented although you discussing NZ immigration relying on the audience to make the incorrect assumption thereby fooling themselves. With 10 000 NZD you can buy almost 10 leather jackets in NZ - that is honestly nothing to write home about. In SA you don’t pay tax on a salary of R48 000 pa which can buy you far more than the measly 10 000 NZ salary which you punt as a bonus. As for free medical, that is absolute rubbish - in SA your medical is free or incredibly cheap if you earn next to nothing salary wise, same case in NZ so do not think medical is any cheaper or better. Look at Mikes posted website to find the truth about NZ: http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/migrant-stories/chapter-5/no-science-or-skills-shortage-in-new-zealand/
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I think the article and the comments make an interesting read. I have been in New Zealand for 3 months now. I have lived in Zimbabwe and South Africa before I came to New Zealand. I started working on the immigration process about 2 years ago, applying for jobs, reading about the process from the internet, attending seminars and expos. I finally went through the process on my own without using a licensed advisor.
After applying for residency under the SMC I got a job before even leaving South Africa and I am in the IT field. I would like to put a few comments to the issues raised.
I think democracy is a process that a nation has to go through and it matures in its own way. When the situation in Zimbabwe started to bite me, I moved to South Africa and then realised that I preferred to be in a more peaceful country.
Now having been in New Zealand for a few months with what I consider to be a fair job I think South Africa has a more comfortable life. Maybe I am still in the process of settling but my feeling at the moment is that South Africa gives a better life style.
I think the New Zealand democracy has gone through an evolutionary process and has matured to what it is now. South Africa and Zimbabwe are still going through that evolution and will eventually find a balance like the Americas, New Zealands, Britains of this world. While armed struggles where for democracy and independence, the people that fought for it will still have the fighting and “we are entitled to” mentality. This will take generations to erase.
On the issue of statistics I agree with the writer who say says it would be good to quote crime statistics per population. You have one person in NZ for every 12 in South Africa and if the South African statistics are not 12 times New Zealand ones then New Zealand is worse.
The event that happened in South Africa is regrettable and someone has to be accountable for it but someone could liken that to sending soldiers to Afghanstan
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Good to read Iain's take on the shootings, only saw the police shootings in NZ papers
For Iain; you desensitize or go insane, so do the best you can, & yes, Africa can be wildly aggressive & violent, as are other parts of the world
It crushes me that my closest family doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of being able to join me. Can barely afford to live comfortably (ie. a roof over their heads, few posessions, can't afford insurance, a car or medical, but earn just enough to not qualify for free medical. That said, I never want to see someone else I love die the way my mom did in a public hosptal. And on that note - who can leave their ailing/aging parents behind with a clear conscience?
I've been in NZ for about 4 years (over 40) and thank God for my skills. I made a leap of faith and joined the IT department during the last year of job in SA, and that's what meant the difference - perusing the skills in demand list and not seeing anything you could qualify on is terrifying. The majority of my family & friends are excluded, not being nurses, doctors, tradespeople or what's on the seemingly ever dwindling list
Is everything perfect - don't be ridiculous - here too there is a crime rate & inequalities, the SA migrant population tends to find it easier I think than some of the Asian migrants. Unfortunately have found some SAs here to be arrogant and negative, so attitude is important
On the fighting, striking, shooting and bloodshed - I am so sorry for the families of those who died, whether their loved ones' deaths were at the hands of other workers or police. I feel for those policemen and workers that killed someone, they will never be the same again
And finally - sorry Iain - but what else is new? I've done my bit of having freinds murdered for no appreciable reason, personally being tear gassed, shot at, hijacked, stabbed whipped - at some point, the drama is enough
I'm glad you brought this up in your latest post. The reaction from back home was very puzzling to me - not a mention from family, and my facebook page was curiously quiet about it.
I on the other hand, was shocked and seriously upset when I saw the news that evening. To the point where my week was pretty much ruined, and I was actually grieving for all the life lost.
I'm thinking, that had I still been in South Africa, I would have shrugged and gone on my way. A "what can you do" attitude tends to sink in, or people bury their heads in the sand because in their protected suburbs, far away from the strikers, it does seem like it's happening in another country. It comes down to - life is cheap in South Africa.
I hope that the international outrage will be enough to stir South Africa into action, since internally it seems pressure is non-existent.
I for one am definately on your (or should I say Paul's) inbox list and I am sitting here counting the days to hear that everything is ready and I can leave to your beautiful country. It is a shame that such a beautiful country such as SA is being ravaged the way it is.
My father has a wonderful saying and it goes something like this: Let's immagine that SA is a huge grocery cupboard and we all keep taking out and we never fill it again. That is exactly the case here now, that cupboard is just about empty and nobody is bothering to refill it.
It has got a ring of truth to it don't you think? Regards...
I would like to compliment you on your recent article.
The truth you spoke is what my partner & I talk about every day. As well as wanting to get out of SA as a matter of extreme urgency!
Unfortunately, with my partner’s career as an airline pilot, we are limited to finding work for him as there is not much else he can do but fly aeroplanes. We both have British Passports, but flying in the UK would mean him re-doing his entire pilot’s license!
My family in NZ has put us on to contacts at Air New Zealand, but they are not employing pilots from outside NZ.
My skills are not required greatly (PA & Bookkeeping skills), so we feel the panic & fear every day of our lives & we see the reality of where this country is going (downhill very fast!) We feel the desperation of wanting to escape & the disappointment of not having anywhere to escape to.
As you said in your article, everyone just shrugs their shoulders & is blasé about it which is typical of ignorant South Africans – sorry to say. But I just thought I’d let you know there are two of us at least, that see the reality & the bleak future of SA. And mostly I really wanted to tell you how awesome, honest & hard-hitting I thought your article was. I wish some of our reporters would write something as good as that & publish it ….. freedom of the press though …. Another issue coming our way in SA ?
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"Until the barbarians are climbing over the walls people hope the noise outside is just a passing herd of animals." belongs in a book of quotable quotes !
Well done on being courageous enough to say it like it is.
I believe that the doors of immigration to both NZ and OZ, will remain open - for a while .. but not indefinitely; so, make a call to action to those of you who have come to understand & acknowledge that being able to purchase material goodies does not = 'quality of life'.
A reminder that the leaders of the future are waiting in the wings: inter-alia Julius Malema & are not simply going to conveniently disappear because they are supported by the disillusioned masses – who will not simply disappear either.
I thank my lucky stars that I bit the financial bullet & paid your consultation fees, as, each morning I can start my day knowing I can just get on and live life - in the way it is meant to be lived - without the stress of becoming a crime statistic or a victim of underlying and now, more often in-your-face) racial hatred - that will remain intact in SA for many many generations to come.
It has taken me over 4 years of hard work in NZ to earn what I expected to when I first arrived here. The point I am making with this statement is for those considering immigrating to NZ to not expect being handed their dream job on arrival. It takes time to gain the confidence of employers.
On another matter, it irks me no-end when I meet fellow SA-born folk here who still support the ‘bokke’ or talk about the old life in terms such as “when we were in SA” or ‘in South Africa ..”. My advice is to embrace the local culture. My philosophy is to support ‘the local team’ – no matter where in the world you might live – it’s the right thing to do and gains so many more friends than having a ‘when we’ attitude.
I would not hesitate to recommend Iain, Myer & their team to any doubting Thomas'. My experience is that their integrity is without reproach.
Hi there Iain
I came to your seminar in Cape Town recently.
There were about 200 people plus in the room waiting like sponges to be filled with "hope".Although your candid openness about "climbing Everest" etal was valued, what made that sponge clam up, was you standing there, arrogant and condescending, telling your prospective clients that "you lot are aggressive and arrogant" and "you lot need to tone that down when you lot get to New Zealand". Iain, be that as it may, I don't think it is your place as a service provider or your right to assume what we lot as a nation are like nor to preach to propective clients how to conduct ourselves as a whole, without stepping in our shoes. We lot made the effort to come to see you speak and you could at least give us the courtesy respect that we deserved. Yes, we have our problems in our country like the rest of the world - everything that humanity brings and the normal degridation of evil in society. But what we have beauty here in abundance - a world in one country. While you sit and mull over your cafe latte and croissant, you are probably too busy strategising how to milk peoples weakness which you play on very well during your presentation and make us feel even more desperate and inadequate that we already are.
So Mr Southern Man, perhaps when you come back to the land of milk and honey,take time out and see us for who we are, understand our multi-facetted cultures and heritate. We lot are people just like any other people all over the world and possibly by treating us with a tad more respect and empathy, I might well have been seeking your services. With your approach no wonder you feel we are arrogant and aggressive! Thankfully, you have made me see the light. I am an African,South Africa is my home and WILL always be home, come good and bad, which are the fundamentals of life. I am damn proud to be a South African and of our teams that kick serious butt in Swimming,Cricket and Rugby!
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