Loss of skilled people

2008-08-11 00:00

Columnist William M. Gumede recently identified some of the reasons for the drain of skilled people away from this country. With Kevin Pietersen now captaining England, cricket fans are particularly sensitive to this phenomenon, and sensitive to the irony that the current Test series is named in honour of Basil d’Oliviera, another South African cricketer who, in different but not dissimilar circumstances, was obliged by race-based political interference to ply his trade overseas. The damage to the welfare of the nation goes far beyond the loss of professional sportsmen and women, however. Disillusioned by limited work opportunities at home or lured by more appreciative employers abroad, skilled people from every field are leaving. Public health services are in crisis while doctors and nurses move away. The defence capacity of the country is compromised by the loss of trained military personnel. South African Airways is losing pilots to foreign competitors and the list goes on.

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