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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Masters in Population Studies
Title Profiling the French community in the Western Cape, South Africa: evidences from an innovative survey
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://etd.uwc.ac.za/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11394/5337/Ogujiuba_c-mps_ns_2016.pdf?sequence=1
In South Africa, demographics consequently play a prominent role in public policy and the
country (rainbow nation) or often called a World in One Country, provide interesting
interactions between the whites, coloured and blacks. South Africa remains the highestranked
country in sub-Saharan Africa and the second-placed among the BRICS economies.
Furthermore, the country benefits from the large size of its economy, particularly by regional
standards, but the profile of various immigrant groups is poorly understood, thereby creating
ambivalence in policy frameworks. A, major weakness of research in this area has been the
tendency to study causes and impacts of migration separately, which constitute largely
separate strands of migration literature. More in general, the scholarly debate has tended to
separate the determinants and impacts of migration artificially from more general processes
of socioeconomic contexts. Thus, there is a clear need to study migrant profiles in their wider
societal context, which makes this study contemporaneous.
Our research profiles both the demographics and socioeconomic dynamics of the French
immigrants in South Africa on one hand and highlights the differences between French
emigrants in Western Cape, South Africa and their counterparts residing in France vis-à-vis
South Africans in Western Cape. In determining, the effect of socioeconomic and
demographic profiles of the French immigrants in the Western Cape, a Google web design
was used. Prior to this, a pilot study using samples of French and Anglophones persons was
done to validate the instrument. Two questionnaires were used for the study; one in English
and the other in French. Likert scales, multiple choice, open ended and close ended questions
were contained in our instrument. Only registered households with French Consulate were
included in the population sample.
The population of South Africans is much younger than that of the French in Western Cape
or French in France. The latter group is ageing but live longer than the South Africans
because of advancement in health infrastructure. Thus, the French community in the Western
Cape are better placed economically, socially, and health-wise compared to the South
Africans (WC) and the French in France. However, in few areas like education, rent and
medical insurance coverage, the French in France are better placed than the French and South
Africans in the Western Cape, because of structural issues peculiar in a country like South
Africa. These social issues in France have more optimality than in South Africa. Our results
further confirm the validity of the New Economics of Labour Migration Theory, which
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recognises the role of households as against individuals in jointly making the decision to
migrate. Migration of a household member is a way to spread the risk of insufficient
household income. Nonetheless, the survey indicates that the Western Cape is a city of choice
for French migrants. However, a comparative analysis of the influx of the French to other
regions would further show the real reasons for French deciding to pitch tent in a particular
region. Analysis suggests an imbalance in the labour supply of the French immigrants which
could be a structural phenomenon akin to also to the South Africans themselves.
Enlightenment programmes for the target population and host population could help in this
regard to balance the labour mix.
There is no doubt that the socioeconomic impact of migration has been intensively studied by
scholars, but it is still often driven by ill-informed opinions, which, in turn, can lead to public
resentment towards migration. This is exactly the case for South Africa that has witnessed
rounds of xenophobic attacks on migrants. These negative assessments risk on-going efforts
to adapt migration policies to the new economic and demographic challenges facing many
countries. Results confirm that labour supply becomes the pull factor for the French
immigrants. Furthermore, it is likely that the bureaucratic set up at the Home Affairs is still
inhibiting the French Immigrants from processing their documentation. On the average, it
takes about 2 to 3 years to process legal permit documents for foreigners in South Africa.
This process could be discouraging others from migrating to South Africa. Also, the
xenophobic syndrome and inconsistent policy framework could also be a deterrent to
foreigners who genuinely want to reside on a permanent basis in the country. The
development potential of migrants is not expressed to its fullest extent, partly because of the
lack of migration-supporting policies, which pushes many migrants to illegality despite the
demand for their labour in certain sectors. Being undocumented not only encourages
exploitation in the workplace but also prevents migrants from contributing to the
development of the host country by paying taxes. A step in the right direction would be to
encourage government service providers to mainstream migration into policies and
programmes. This would set the framework for greater respect for migrants’ rights, as well as
facilitate the integration of migrants and acknowledge their contribution to the development
of host and home countries.

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