When asked by potential investors or immigrants about South Africa, I remain (perhaps surprisingly) optimistic. Many indicators are negative - ratings agencies downgrades, the Rand weak, new reports of state capture almost daily.

The upcoming ANC Elective Conference deciding who will be the next ANC president, and therefore President of SA in 2019, and the developments in Zimbabwe with President Mugabe having been forced to step down, may be daunting. We are certainly in for a thrilling few weeks before this year closes. But they also bear such potential for hope and new beginnings. I have faith in the many good people in the ANC, this country and region, and know that from our standpoint, movement is certainly better than stagnation.

Then there is the water crisis in the Western Cape. Please check here and here whether you are doing everything you can to reduce your water usage, and urge your guests over the festive season to do the same (remember we can help them extend their visitor’s visa, too). Water scarcity will soon affect the entire planet, so best we learn how to be respectful of it fast.

Due to our President’s knack for Cabinet reshuffles, the Department of Home Affairs has had to work with three different Ministers this year – Malusi Gigaba until March, Hlengiwe Mkhize until October, and now Ayanda Dlodlo. Minister Dlodlo has only been in office for a month, and thus there is not much to go by to evaluate her leadership style, attitude towards immigration, investors, or the industry of Immigration Practitioners and attorneys. One of the few visible changes since her appointment was a procedural adaptation which meant more direct control for her office. Whether that, however, is an indication of a more general approach cannot be said at this stage. The Department has otherwise been quiet regarding its “repositioning” plans. We expect to hear more on this in 2018.

Looking back at this year, my appreciation goes to our clients for your continued trust, to our partners for your unwavering support, and to the IMCOSA team for your amazing spirit and your hunger to learn and keep getting better at what you do. Together, we have made this year a great success and again secured many hundreds of visa and permits for our clients.

So if we can help with advice on compliance, up-to-date information and practical solutions for your expat staffing and visa needs, give us a shout.

Be safe and sane through these last weeks of 2017. On behalf of the entire IMCOSA team, I wish you a peaceful and restful festive season.

Julia Willand