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Hi all,

I have never been to SA and until 24 hours ago it was not even on my "B" list of places to visit. Things changed yesterday when completely out of the blue I was offered a four month consultancy in SA by an American telecom company.

I have now read through the last 15 or so threads in this forum as well as similar threads on other forums and recognise whatever the denialists say that there is genuine reson to be concerned about crime in South Africa.


My questions are (1) It looks like I can pretty much dictate my terms in regards to (a) location and (b) my expense package. My initial thoughts were to have rented a villa for the four months (I bet it will be at least 6, these projects always over-run!)

Given that security is a major issue would I be better staying in a hotel for the duration of the contract? If I decide on a villa, would a live-in security guard assist or simply draw attention, do you think? Would a serviced apartment be a safe-enough option?

Finally, I "believe" I will be able to choose where I base myself. I am presuming that Johannesburg is the logical choice but Cape Town has come into conversation a couple of times today. Given that I don't expect to have time to see much more than a laptop screen and given that my security is x times more important than views of a mountain, river of area of natural beauty, any suggestions on location would be welcome.

Those that want to start their keyboard attacks are welcome to but don't expect me to join in. I have lived abroad for much of my adult life BUT in safe Spain and VERY safe Sweden (deeeeeeeeeeeeep countryside 4 kms from Norwegian border) SA will clearly be different. I accept that.


TIA
 

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Yes, it is possible to live in Joburg in safety. When you relocate- request a risk assesment couselor and/or relocation company to help guide you to a place that will meet your needs.
Perhaps a hotel is what you want? Do remember that it can come with the same security risks a villa does and it is not always a better bet. A good option can be a gate community(with serviced flats) that has a guard outside, electric fencing, and in an area patrolled well by the security company. Some communities have amenities like restraunts and barbers inside as well. A live-in security guard seems unnecessary to me- but if it makes you feel better.... Perhaps try it out.
Something to keep in mind is traffic. It can be horrendous during peak times, best be in an area close to what you need, if possible. Or, try to arrange your schedule so that you are not traveling during rush hours or during the night- at least until you get the feel of the city. Also, it's best to not rely competely on a GPS, it will show you the fastest route- but that could be directly through a place that you don't want to be- so always consult a map book too.
Capetown? There is belief among the locals whom I've spoken to, that Capetown is much better than Joburg. Although I can't tell you that from my expierence, I am based in Joburg. I do believe that a trip to the city will give you the feel of it, then decide? Seing the country could be a great experience for you- it's beautiful and very possible to to do so safely.
 

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Yes you can.
The risk assesment and briefing is probably the most important.
the second is not to become complacent and to listen to local advice.
Cape Town appears to be safer.(Good post Rokzy)
 

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Steve,

Crime is a problem but not to the level where you need to have a live-in security guard.

Hotels can be expensive so the criminals know that the people who stay in the up market (3-5 star) hotels usually have money, cameras, etc.

I would suggest a small townhouse/cluster that has its own security that is situated within a gated community. That should be more than adequate for the housing issue.

Travel is also another place for concern. Hijackings are still frequent. Just be aware of your surroundings, when in traffic leave enough room to manouvre if necessary (although peak hour hijackings are rare as there is no place to go). Driving at night is when most of the problems occur.

Crime is bad but if you keep your wits about you, think defensively, don't put yourself in dangerous situations such as walking through the CBD alone or late at night, you should be fine. We sometimes get the idea/feeling that we are in constant IMMINENT danger but that is not the full picture... it is simply a fact that you are statistically more likely (to a factor of about 10 times) to be a victim of crime - often with a violent aspect of some sort associated.

If you don't behave like a tourist the chances of you becoming a statistic in six months is quite low (all things considered).
 

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True. I think the only reason that any South African lives in JHB is the fact that the salaries are generally better. Steve's case probably won't be affected as he can dictate his package. CPT would be my choice as an expat even though it is not my favourite place as a local.
 

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Consider a Smaller Capital

Thanks for all the great balanced replies - much appreciated
Hi Steve,

Why not consider a smaller city away from Johannesburg and Cape Town. I've lived in Bloemfontein (Central South Africa) for most of my life. Crime, Traffic and other problems are very low compared to other centres, and infrastructure is good. Only 1hr flight to anywhere in South Africa, and we have some very good accommodation establishments. (Bloemfontein also hosts several matches during the FIFA World Cup, meaning infrastructure has been upgraded). By the way, Cape Town is very wet during winter, while Bloemfontein has mostly sunny clear skies.

Anyway, if you need assistance sourcing your specific needs in accommodation etc. anywhere in South Africa you can call or email me to connect you to the right people. +27 83 354 0745 jomellgroup at gmail dot com

Sorry you have to muddle through all the pros and cons. We truly have an amazing country and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year for business, holidays, hunting, top quality conferences and expo's and wildlife tours or safaris. I hope you have a chance to experience South Africa and not just your hotel room, that would be a great loss.

All the best.

John
 
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