Rating the South Africa expat experience

Rating the South Africa expat experience

Rating the South Africa expat experience

South Africa is famous for its stunning natural beauty, its climate and its varied leisure options, but many expats have other concerns.

For expatriates, South Africa gives a more than acceptable quality of life as regards amenities, leisure options and travel, no matter where they live and work in the country. However, for a good number of respondents to a recent survey, the cons tend to outweigh the pros. One major concern is the poor state of transportation in the major cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, making all but the simplest, most direct journeys somewhat of a nightmare. Another source of confusion is that, apart from English, at least 10 other languages are officially spoken in South Africa, with Afrikaans and Is Ndebele the most usual.

A majority of new arrivals find settling down and making new friends is straightforward, but some 30 per cent are unhappy with locals’ attitudes towards foreign incomers. Political stability is a cause for concern amongst over half of expats in general, citing dissatisfaction with lawmakers’ inability to deal with unrest. As regards the quality of healthcare in the major cities, some 72 per cent gave positive replies, but just under half of respondents pointed out the high and still rising cost of private treatment. From 2013 to 2014, costs increased at over 10 per cent, and are still rising in 2018.

However, dwarfing all other concerns is the issue of personal safety, not just in the big cities but all over the country. Some 60 per cent of those surveyed said the high level of crime was a definite disincentive for relocation anywhere in South Africa, and 64 per cent view their personal safely negatively. Another gripe is disposable income, with 30 per cent of expat respondents saying they’re struggling to make ends meet, although 6 per cent say they’re not unhappy with the cost of living. During the past 60 years, South Africa has endured seven economic recessions, with recent economic forecasts hinting at more trouble in the near future. In spite of obvious concerns.

However, one group of expats are satisfied with their lives – those who’ve emigrated along with their families. The outdoor lifestyle wins points as children can be children in the great outdoors, and there’s a wide choice of affordable childcare options. Parents also approve of the country’s education systems, rating the quality and affordability higher than average even although safety concerns for kids were often mentioned during the survey. All in all, it seems expats in South Africa are relatively content with their lives and lifestyles.

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