The South African High Commissioner for Jamaica, Her Excellency Advocate Faith Radebe, addressed members of the South African community during a social evening held at Macumba Lounge on Thursday, 26 February.
Advocate Radebe’s trip to the Cayman Islands was organised by the Cayman Islands Law School Student Society and she was glowing in her praise of Cayman.
‘It is a great country. What I discovered is the people are very friendly here, and it is an international centre with a wonderful mix of people,’ she said.
In her speech the High Commissioner addressed the need for critical skills in South Africa and the effect that the movement of skills from the country to foreign shores has.
‘It is heartbreaking to see the professionalism of South Africa missing in South Africa. It is heartbreaking also to see countries, especially the developed countries, not training their own people, but going to all the developing countries, getting all the professionals out of there and leaving those countries no alternative,’ said Advocate Radebe.
Although she admitted that South Africa has problems, she was quick to remind everyone present that no country is without its challenges.
The High Commissioner also pointed out that only qualified individuals are able to leave South Africa to pursue their careers elsewhere.
‘Not of a lot of poor people in South Africa are able to leave the country – it is the skilled people who are able to leave the country, and they are exactly the ones who are needed in the country,’ according to Advocate Radebe.
The High Commissioner expressed the hope that South Africans living and working abroad will remain involved in their country and invest their time and money in making a difference ‘back home’.
‘There is a mind shift now – people are sending money back to assist the economy of the country. Remittances have gone a long way,’ said Advocate Radebe.
After delivering her speech the High Commissioner proceeded to talk to members of the South African community in Cayman, addressing their specific concerns.
One issue that came up repeatedly was the need for South African citizens to apply for a visa for travel to the UK, a requirement from which they had been exempt in the past. However, the High Commissioner expressed her regret that the South African High Commission in Jamaica could do nothing to remedy the situation, which necessitates South African citizens in Cayman wishing to travel to or transit through the UK to fly to Jamaica first in order to apply for a visa at the British High Commission there.