Not only are Eskom failing to keep the lights on, but it seems they are also influencing people to pack up their belongings and leave the country for good. Industry experts have concluded that load shedding has played a huge part in the rising emigration numbers.
Emigration and load shedding
FNB property sector strategist, John Loos, told BusinessTech that there was a steady increase in the number of South Africans selling their homes to emigrate over the past five years.
The numbers have increased five-fold, rising from 2% in 2013 to 10% at the end of 2018.
Loos told the publication that Eskom are a “key factor” when people make these decisions to try their luck abroad. Although he doesn’t pin the figures solely on the threat of load shedding, he admits it has been a huge driver in the loss of sentiment ordinary South Africans feel towards their country:
“The Eskom issue is one key factor, because everyone knows that in a modern economy if you don’t reliable and affordable electricity you are going to struggle.”
Eskom “have contributed” to emigration figures
Wanting to understand more about this phenomenon, we spoke to the immigration manager at Sable International. John Dunn backed up the claims made by the FNB representative, outlining why people finally decide that “enough is enough” when electricity is sparse:
“Load shedding does have an impact of emigration, as it places a strain on the economy and the future outlook of the country as a whole. Load shedding increases that uncertainty especially now that they are talking about Stage 5 and Stage 6 of the process.”
“There is no current clear plan on how this will be resolved without our economy deteriorating further. This definitely causes people to look to improve their situation and emigration is one way.”
The whole issue of “uncertainty” seems to be the common theme, here. With no guarantees about a solution to the problem – which has been happening on and off for the best part of a decade – a large chunk of South Africans who do have the means to move abroad end up taking the plunge.
Load shedding… and the rest:
So we know that Eskom’s failures are having a large impact on emigration, but it’s also part of a wider problem. That jump from 2% to 10% is startling, in such a short space of time. Dunn also suggests the following issues are to blame:
Feelings of instability since we had three finance ministers in five days, back in 2015.
Land reform uncertainties.
Potential plans to nationalise the reserve bank
Mismanagement of SOEs.
Escalating evidence of government corruption.
For a lot of people, load shedding has only helped them to make a decision they’ve been grappling with for a while. Dunn went on to explain that people are in a “now or never” mindset when weighing up immigration costs.
“The reason there could be an increase in property sales is down to a large number of South Africans having their home as their main or only asset.”
“The costs of immigration is always increasing, so the only way a number of people can make that move or meet the financial requirements is by selling their major assets or properties.”
The South African