News / Opinion / Columns

Yvonne Fontyn
3 minute read
20 Jul 2017
5:35 am

Should one emigrate due to the ongoing dirty government dealings?

Yvonne Fontyn

The short answer is no, and here's why.

Brian Molefe breaks down while talking about his relationship with the Guptas during a media conference where Eskom released its interim financial results on November 03, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Molefe defended Eskom's deal with Tegeta, a Gupta owned company, saying that allegations levelled against him in Thuli Madonsela's "state capture" report are unfounded. Picture: Gallo Images

Over the past couple of years and more so recently when it seemed the dirty dealings going on in the government would never be exposed and dealt with, I became convinced I should emigrate.

I imagined the corruption just continuing, the economy collapsing and living in SA becoming impossible.

So, even though I haven’t a single family member in the UK, I got together all the documents for my ancestry visa and contacted companies that transport pets overseas. (It’s about R15 000 for a medium-sized cat).

I e-mailed some UK estate agents and even spoke to one on the phone to see if I could keep two cats in the flats they were advertising. But they never came back to me. It seems most landlords over there prefer tenants with no pets.

Scanning my possessions, I couldn’t decide what to take and what to leave, what had sentimental value and what was essential to pack.

I’ve collected about 20 pairs of shoes over the years, as well as some antique teddy bears and interesting milk jugs – all very dear to me.

The whole thing became a huge nightmare and I shelved it for a while. So, the feeling passed and I never submitted the application forms to the consulate.

Instead, I went to see a friend, Chris, who is a life coach, and I told him about my predicament. Basically, I believed leaving would be best for me, but my gut just never said “yes!”.

How should I deal with the turbulence in the country, on a personal level? I asked. How should I keep motivated and positive every day?

Chris is someone who was very successful in business and he hobnobs with other businesspeople, CEOs and the like. He has retired to a comfortable home in a leafy suburb so I think he knows something about financial planning.

As it happens, he is very much in the “remain” camp when it comes to South Africa. First of all, he said, the economy is not going to collapse. “The world will not allow SA to fail,” were his exact words.

There were too many global vested interests in SA, he said, and they would pull together to rescue the economy.

“Let the crooked members in government carry on destroying things. Ultimately, the International Monetary Fund will have to come in and provide a loan, with strict conditions. These will include clean governance and this will force the government to clean up its act.”

As I drove away I began to relax. Now, I had a picture of the future – one I hadn’t thought of myself – and it was credible.

It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t the kumbaya scenario that some people insist on – where, because we are the rainbow nation, we are somehow protected from anything bad happening – but it was manageable. It wasn’t Zimbabwe, and I found it oddly comforting. Since the talk with Chris, I haven’t been tempted to take down the suitcases again.

I’ve gone about my daily business as usual but my attitude has changed. Instead of finding fault, I look for opportunities to help out, in my small way.

I’m helping some second-language university students with their essays and I donate to a civil organisation that has more of an appetite for a fight than I do. My cats seem calmer, too.

Yvonne Fontyn

Yvonne Fontyn