Working and Living in South Africa

Working and Living in South Africa

Labor market

South Africa is an emerging market and rich in natural resources. Well developed are i.a. the finance, communications, energy and transportation sectors. However, the unemployment rate is currently extremely high at around 28.7% (2019). Mainly skilled workers such as engineers, computer scientists, natural scientists, medical professionals, nursing staff, teachers, craftsmen have opportunities, but there are also opportunities in areas such as gastronomy and the hotel industry.

According to countryvv, the wages are quite low. On average, one earns about a third of the German wage. You should at least have a good command of English.

Cost of living

The cost of living is around 30-40% lower than in Germany, but it depends heavily on personal preferences and lifestyle. Vegetables, meat and fish in particular are of excellent quality and are very inexpensive. All services are well below half the price as in Germany.

You would need around € 2,110.44 in Johannesburg to maintain the same standard of living that you could have in Berlin with € 3,700.00 (assuming you rent in the cities).

  • Consumer prices in Johannesburg are 37.33% lower than in Berlin (excluding rent)
  • Consumer prices in Johannesburg are 42.96% lower than in Berlin (including rent)
  • Rental prices in Johannesburg are 55.50% lower than in Berlin
  • Restaurant prices in Johannesburg are 35.86% lower than in Berlin
  • Food prices in Johannesburg are 39.44% lower than in Berlin
  • Local purchasing power in Johannesburg is 18.58% lower than in Berlin

Average cost of living in Johannesburg (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)

Restaurant Ø € Price € Price from / to
Food, price w. restaurant 7.26 4.01-15.02
Middle class, 3 courses for 2 people. 30.05 20.03-55.09
Local beer, 0.5 l 1.75 0.95-2.25
Imported beer, 0.33 l 2.00 1.50 – 2.75
cappuccino 1.42 1.10-2.00
Coca / Pepsi (0.33 l) 0.72 0.50-1.00
Water (0.33 l) 0.59 0.50-1.00
Food Ø € Price € Price from / to
Milk (1 L) 0.86 0.60-1.13
White bread (500g) 0.73 0.45-0.90
Rice (white), (1kg) 1.10 0.73 – 1.50
Eggs (12) 1.57 0.90-3.00
Local cheese (1kg) 5.20 4.46 – 7.51
Chicken breast fillet (1kg) 4.07 2.53 – 7.51
Beef (1kg) 5.80 4.46 – 9.52
Apples (1kg) 1.20 0.75 – 1.50
Bananas (1kg) 0.98 0.75 – 1.60
Oranges (1kg) 1.10 0.50-2.25
Tomatoes (1kg) 1.11 0.70 – 1.50
Potatoes (1kg) 0.92 0.30-1.90
Onions (1kg) 0.93 0.65 – 1.50
Lettuce (1 head) 0.75 0.50-1.00
Water (1.5 l) 0.78 0.43-1.25
Bottle of wine (middle class) 4.01 2.60 – 6.51
Local beer (0.5 l) 1.05 0.50-1.90
Imported beer (0.33 l) 1.41 0.80-2.00

Average costs for local transport, utilities, clothing, leisure, education of Johannesburg (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)

Mode of Transport Ø € Price € Price from / to
One-time ticket 1.50 1.00-3.76
Monthly pass 55.09 31.50-107.92
Taxi base amount 1.25 0.80 – 2.50
Taxi 1 km 0.60 0.40 – 1.50
Ancillary housing costs Ø € Price € Price from / to
for 85 sqm apartment (electricity, water, garbage, etc. 76.66 40.06-140.22
1 minute prepaid mobile tariff 0.09 0.03-0.13
Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable / ADSL) 47.97 32.55-75.12
Clothes, shoes € Price Ø € Price from / to
Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 38.44 20.03-50.08
Summer dress (Zara, H&M,… 24.96 14.97-40.06
Nike sports shoes, middle class 63.89 35.06-100.16
Leather business shoes 62.11 32.55-110.16
leisure time Ø € Price € Price from / to
Fitness center, month / adult 25.92 14.97-44.82
Tennis, 1 hour on weekends 7.72 5.01-10.02
a movie ticket 4.76 3.51-7.01
training Ø € Price € Price from / to
Preschool / Kindergarten, private, whole day, monthly per child 175.33 120.19-250.40
International primary school per year and child 4,094.99 2,003.20 – 7,211.54

Average rental prices / purchase and salaries of Johannesburg (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)

Monthly rental price Ø € Price € Price from / to
Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center 353.67 225.36-600.96
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside the center 292.16 200.32-400.64
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city center 677.89 430.69-1,001.60
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside the center 549.82 375.60-876.40
Purchase price of apartments Ø € Price € Price from / to
Price per square meter for an apartment in the city – purchase 759.25 500.80 – 1,151.84
Price per square meter – apartment outside the center – purchase 541.17 400.65-791.27
wages Ø € Price € Price from / to
Average monthly salary (after taxes) 1,016.73

Average rental price (in euros) Pretoria
1 bedroom apartment in the city center: € 252
1 bedroom apartment outside the city center: € 257
3 bedroom apartment in the city center: € 467
3 bedroom apartment outside the city center: € 514

Real estate – purchase, lease or rent

With its land registration system, South Africa offers the greatest possible security with regard to ownership of a property. When buying a property, the broker is much more important in South Africa than in Germany, for example. As a rule, he draws up the sales contract with the parties, checks it and usually also acts as a witness for the signature. The real estate agent should be a member of the Estate Agents Board of South Africa. This membership can only be acquired through special training followed by a successful examination. Only through this membership is it guaranteed that the escrow account held with the broker is secured by the “trust fund certificate”.

Emigration and life in South Africa

The country has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty but little for emigrants. But South Africa is at least worth a trip (get travel information here) ! You can get around the country well with English, but if you speak a little Afrikaans, you have clear advantages. Some advantages of the country: Cost of living cheap (LHK-I 65.7), partly German in some areas, low population density.

Permanent residence

permanent stay may be allowed for the following reasons:

  • You have a work visa for 5 years and receive an offer for permanent employment
  • Spouse of a South African citizen / permanent resident for 5 years (18 months after the residence permit has been issued, you must report in person to the Ministry of the Interior and provide evidence of your current situation)
  • Offer for permanent employment (permit can be extended to spouse and children) if the following conditions are met:
    The position cannot be filled by a South African
    II. It is proven that you have special qualifications
    III. The job must exist for at least 5 years
  • Exceptional skills / qualifications with the following requirements:
    Proof of special skills
    II. Proof of post-qualification experience of at least 5 years
    III. References from previous employers and a comprehensive curriculum vitae
    IV. Motivation letter showing that the applicant’s critical skills are beneficial to the South African environment
  • Investment in an existing company in the Republic of South Africa, if
    Either at least 5,000,000 Rand in cash originating outside the Republic or
    II. At least 5,000,000 Rand in cash and a capital contribution (new machines and / or devices) that originate from outside the republic
    (if the investment still cannot be proven 2 years after the approval, the residence permit will lapse!)
  • Establishing a company in the Republic of South Africa under the following conditions:
    Business plan showing the feasibility of the business in the short and long term
    II. Requirement of the applicant that at least 60% of the total workforce are citizens or permanent residents who are permanently employed in various positions are
    III. Obligation to register with the South African Revenue Service
    IV. Proof of registration with the responsible professional organization
  • Financial independence
  • Proof of a minimum net worth of Rand 12 million

Even with the pensioner visa, you can stay in the country permanently thanks to the extension options. Of course, the relevant requirements must be met. The processing time for the respective applications is 18 months or longer and is charged with a fee of € 118.

The permanent residence permit expires if you have not used it within 12 months of the date of issue, i.e. you have not entered South Africa.

Working and Living in South Africa

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