Mobility of the highly skilled—Towards a non-racial South Africa

Type Journal Article - Science, Technology and Society
Title Mobility of the highly skilled—Towards a non-racial South Africa
Volume 20
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 369-388
The topic of this article is the mobility of the highly skilled, or ‘moths’, towards, in and from postapartheid
South Africa. The article picks up where the Human Sciences Research Council study on the
mobility of knowledge workers left off by examining new data, and innovation and immigration policy.
It argues that there has been a considerable shift in researcher demographics, but that this has been
through a policy of substitution rather than growth. The ongoing shortage of skills thereby creates a price
premium for that skill, the more so as immigration policy dictates that the considerable investment in
developing foreign students returns little by way of local capacity development. Despite a dysfunctional
school system the innovation system shows resilience, with increased publication outputs largely pulled
up by international collaboration. The odds are that the innovation system will remain starved of foreign
staff, yet be ‘open’ for collaboration. The beach is open, but the gate is closed.

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