I am sad today. Tonight, my sister, my nephews and my niece will board an aircraft, destination UK. My brother-in-law (BIL) has been there for a month already, getting settled into his new job, and sorting out things like a house and a car and whatnot.
From the late 1990s, with no British ancestry to rely on, they lived and worked in London, long enough to acquire the red passport that would free them from The Fat Zulu's South Africa.
The elephant in the room... why are they going back? My BIL is trained in a niche technology segment of the medical field, doing work for dentists. Because it's a niche market, dentists make certain demands of the technologists, in order to secure work on a 'sole mandate' basis.
Chief amongst these demands are rebates and discounts on the tariffs published by the regulatory authorities, end-of-year favours (it is not uncommon to pay for a dentist's week-long hunting trip to Namibia, to give you an idea), and regular gifts of notes stuffed into a brown envelope. All of these practices are outlawed by the regulator, but continue unfettered.
So, you'd imagine that with all these things in the dentists' favour, they would pay promptly. Fat chance. If you're lucky, you get your bucks in 60 days. The norm is to beg, plead and eventually send out the debt collectors.
The dentists have noticed that in South Africa, fraud and corruption is endemic from the top down, and that they can act with impunity. They know that the legal system is so manifestly broken, that it is pointless to turn to the courts to recover monies due.
And the labs have no choice but to accede to all of this, because if they don't, there's another lab suitably desperate, who will step in. Cut-throat? You bet.
It's a no-brainer that doing business in such an environment is next to impossible. And so they have called it quits. My BIL has said sod it, and is taking up a salaried position, working fixed hours, abroad. An assistant technician, lab workers and a driver are now without work.
Apologies if it comes across that I'm bitter, I'm not. OK, maybe I am, just a bit, that the ANC has created this environment that is so conducive to thuggery. It wouldn't surprise me to see a delegation of them at the airport, gleefully waving another white family from South Africa, forever.
For the little guys, it's an adventure. And a chance to make something of themselves, without first having to get over their whiteness, and their guilt for apartheid. For me and my family, it's an opportunity - a chance to see the UK and Europe, from a base.
I'm really pissed off on behalf of our parents. Approaching 70, cost aside, it's unlikely that my dad's health will permit another UK trip. And I'd be terrified of letting my mum loose on the poor British public, alone. So interactions with the grandkids will be via Skype and the occasional trip back to SA. That's gutting.
I'm finishing this now. Too pissed off to add anything further.
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