In this edition, I wish to share my experience of world-class service in the Kruger National Park, border crossings in Africa, why you do not want to be a truck driver, missed deadlines regarding the Digital Nomad Visa, as well as reasons for failure of service delivery in our own organisation.
A Trip to the African Wilderness
I wish to begin this month’s edition with a truly positive story I personally experienced during my holidays in the Kruger National Park with my family.
We went for eight days to various camping facilities within the park. I was positively surprised about the quality of the facilities, their cleanliness, and the welcoming spirit and friendliness of the staff.
When entering the Kruger Park, you are welcomed by SanPark officials that greet you with smiles. During our game drives, we found are picnic spots where you can rent gas bottles and stoves to prepare your own breakfast. We thoroughly enjoyed the changing landscapes and flora during our drive from the North to the South of the Park.
One piece of advice though: avoid school holidays, it changes the experience, and not positively!
Crossing the Border
We then made our way towards Maputo in Mozambique (the home of our Mozambique office!). We were very worried about the border crossing at Komatipoort. We had heard and read horror stories regarding full days wasted at the border.
The first lesson we learned: do not believe everything you read on the internet. My experience was rather pleasant. The full border crossing, leaving South Africa and entering Mozambique, took no longer than 45 minutes in total. If you travel regularly in Africa, then you can consider yourself extremely lucky for any border crossing under one hour.
Coming back, it was a bit longer, but still under 1.5 hours.
A Different Story for Truckers
For truck drivers going from South Africa to Mozambique, the experience is completely different. When we passed the border, we were met with a traffic jam of trucks approximately 5 kilometres long trying to cross the border.
After they would eventually cross, there was a weighbridge a little further down the freeway where they would wait again for most of the day. Their destination after that was the Maputo Harbour, where there would be met by further delays.
You see the same concerns in Richards Bay, South Africa. The breakdown of the national railway services causes massive hindrances for humans and the environment. As is often the case in Africa, despite the politicians agreeing to a free trade zone, the devil lies in the implementation. I really felt for the truck drivers who would spend three to four days crossing the border.
Our drive into Maputo was uneventful. What stood out for me was that approximately every 15 kilometres there were police stopping cars on the National Highway checking papers. We were fortunate not to be stopped, but the high visibility of police was a welcoming sight.
What stood out for me during our short visit in Mozambique was not just the presence of the police, but the exceptional friendliness of the Mozambicans. They’re warm and always helpful, despite their limited ability to speak English. We enjoyed our time in Mozambique and can wholeheartedly recommend that you spend your holidays there!
The Expected Failure of the Department of Home Affairs
After my return early July, it is clear that the Department of Home Affairs will miss their own deadline to announce legislation governing the Digital Nomad Visa. This was made public in several newspapers, as well as from the government of the Western Cape.
I believe that public pressure will increase and lead to the publishing of the draft legislation in the next two to three months maximum. This would mean that by the end of this year, South Africa will finally have its own Digital Nomad option.
As I’ve mentioned before as early as March 2020, I personally suggested to the DHA, as well as the Western Cape government, that the introduction of such a visa would do wonders for the local economy. It seems we finally will be able to offer a visa for remote workers.
Legislation Changes Regarding Citizenship
And other relevant immigration news there were two noteworthy decisions regarding citizenship in the last month. One in Botswana and one in South Africa. Both insured prohibiting the loss of national citizenship in case of dual nationality. Please refer to the article in this newsletter.
Unfortunately, shortly after my return to the office, it became apparent that we failed on a few occasions to uphold our high service delivery standards.
The reasons for the service delivery failure are manifold, but the main reason was the high case load in the past months. While we were aware of it, tried to hire three times, it was extremely difficult to find suitable candidates with experience.
However, it seems that from 1 August, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will hopefully be welcoming two new hires!
So please, bear with us: my senior team and I are doing our utmost to iron out this most recent service delivery wobble.
Written by Andreas Krensel, Managing Owner
Edited by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor