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johannesburg accomodation

Old Feb 10th 2012, 6:08 pm
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Smile johannesburg accomodation

Hi All,

First post on the Africa forum, so be gentle with me !

My Hubby is being offered a job based in johannesburg where I will relocate with him also.

Quite franky Im shit*ting myself after hearing all the awfull things that are reported in the news. Murders, rapes, carjackings..............................not even safe in your own home.

I have done some research and found the safer areas to live - but it seems you never safe wherever you are.

At the moment we live in serviced apartments in Abu Dhabi within a nice hotel.

I was thinking that this sort of set up would be a lot safer than a house - however nice the neighbourhood as all good hotels must have good security.

Any thoughts ? and please forgive my ignorance, but is this type of accomodation available in johannesburg?

Thanks Awfully - I would appreciate any feedback or guidance.
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Old Feb 11th 2012, 10:29 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Curly27
but it seems you never safe wherever you are.
You aren't. If safety is your primary concern, don't go. As I always say, don't take my word, read the SA papers online and judge for yourself. Even with the increasing censorship you will get an impression of people's safety concerns.

I was thinking that this sort of set up would be a lot safer than a house - however nice the neighbourhood as all good hotels must have good security.
You still have to go out sometimes, no?
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Old Feb 11th 2012, 10:40 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

What Pablo said is spot on.
I lived in Cape Town for 16 years, until things got decidedly worse.
Living in Cape Town was a party compared to Jo'burg.
I wouldn't move to Jo'burg for all the money in the world.

Sorry to be negative, but if you really have to go there, then you really have to know all the facts.

Gun crime, car crime, rape, you have it all there.

Vette
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Old Feb 13th 2012, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Curly27
Quite franky Im shit*ting myself after hearing all the awfull things that are reported in the news. Murders, rapes, carjackings..............................not even safe in your own home.

At the moment we live in serviced apartments in Abu Dhabi within a nice hotel.

I was thinking that this sort of set up would be a lot safer than a house - however nice the neighbourhood as all good hotels must have good security.

Any thoughts ? and please forgive my ignorance, but is this type of accomodation available in johannesburg?

Thanks Awfully - I would appreciate any feedback or guidance.
Hi Curly, welcome to the Africa forum

There are serviced apartments - the Hydro apartments (I think in Grayston Drive) are close to Sandton and seems very nice. Where in Joburg is your husband going to be based? The traffic is shocking, so let me know and I'll suggest some suburbs.

Your best bet will be to live in a secure complex (Dainfern, for example) but they can be pricey.

Don't live in a house that is on the street, rather go for one in a secure complex. They are much safer. Make sure good medical insurance is included, and you both have cars - there is no public transport to speak of.

Good luck with the move, let us know how you get on or if you need any further practical advice.
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Old Feb 14th 2012, 10:16 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Curly, is your husband being offered expat terms, or will the employer treat this as a local hire? It makes a big difference to affordability. I used to do some security consulting work for a Joburg firm that acted for corporates relocating people into SA and the expats generally got very generous packages, including accommodation in a security estate/gated community, security costs, excellent medical cover, school fees (if applicable), a company vehicle and annual return air fares to their country of origin. Local hires at the same level didn't get anything like the same benefits.
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Old Feb 14th 2012, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by ededed
Hi Curly, welcome to the Africa forum

There are serviced apartments - the Hydro apartments (I think in Grayston Drive) are close to Sandton and seems very nice. Where in Joburg is your husband going to be based? The traffic is shocking, so let me know and I'll suggest some suburbs.

Your best bet will be to live in a secure complex (Dainfern, for example) but they can be pricey.

Don't live in a house that is on the street, rather go for one in a secure complex. They are much safer. Make sure good medical insurance is included, and you both have cars - there is no public transport to speak of.

Good luck with the move, let us know how you get on or if you need any further practical advice.
Thanks for the advice - I had looked at the Sandton area and am thinking thats probably where we would choose - I dont know where the office is based yet - we are still at the negotiation stage - and my husband I think is waiting for me to stop freaking about the possible move !

As soon as I know the any more, I will be more specific and try and hone my queries a little.

Thanks Again.
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Old Feb 14th 2012, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by MartynK
Curly, is your husband being offered expat terms, or will the employer treat this as a local hire? It makes a big difference to affordability. I used to do some security consulting work for a Joburg firm that acted for corporates relocating people into SA and the expats generally got very generous packages, including accommodation in a security estate/gated community, security costs, excellent medical cover, school fees (if applicable), a company vehicle and annual return air fares to their country of origin. Local hires at the same level didn't get anything like the same benefits.
Hi Martyn, yes it will be expat terms. We have experience of working in the Middle East so have ensured that everything is covered.

The choice of where to live is ours - but it is fully expensed - there are limits obviously - but the allowance is generous.

They have discussed all of the items you list above - with the exception of school fees - our kids have flown the nest - there will only be one car provided - so we will have to pay for my car - but hopefully I will be able to get a job where the transport is provided also.

Will update you when I know more...........I am quite nervous about the whole thing - but am trying to approach it in a positive manner.

Thanks Again
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Old Feb 16th 2012, 10:46 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Curly27
Hi Martyn, yes it will be expat terms. We have experience of working in the Middle East so have ensured that everything is covered.

The choice of where to live is ours - but it is fully expensed - there are limits obviously - but the allowance is generous.

They have discussed all of the items you list above - with the exception of school fees - our kids have flown the nest - there will only be one car provided - so we will have to pay for my car - but hopefully I will be able to get a job where the transport is provided also.

Will update you when I know more...........I am quite nervous about the whole thing - but am trying to approach it in a positive manner.

Thanks Again
Hi Curly

Sounds as if the basics are more or less sorted out then.

A few points to bear in mind as you go forward:

There are a number of things to consider when deciding where to live, and commuting is one of them. Joburg traffic is horrendous. It's not only the distance you have to travel, but the routes involved. Chat to the guys at your husband's new office, or PM me and I'll try to help.

Most SA employers don't offer company cars, it's usually a car allowance, but there are major perks tax implications with both. It's sometimes better to buy your own car and bill business mileage to the company, if that's an option. Speak with an accountant about this, once you have specifics.

You will have to think about crime and personal security. Living in a security estate is usually the best choice - some companies insist that expats do this - but it doesn't guarantee complete peace of mind, and you're going to spend a lot of time outside the protected environment too. I don't really want to discuss this on the forum, but there's plenty of information available on line, and I can give you some advice if you like.

Be positive about it. There are serious challenges, but I still love the country and spend a fair amount of time there. I may go back permanently, depending on a few things that are happening right now.
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Old Feb 27th 2012, 12:28 pm
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by MartynK
Hi Curly.....

.....Be positive about it. There are serious challenges, but I still love the country and spend a fair amount of time there. I may go back permanently, depending on a few things that are happening right now.
Hey Curly.

I've lived here for 4 years. Everyone is right in what they have advised above. I'll say this. When I first came on to this forum I was pretty naive about life in Jo'burg. I wanted to prove everyone wrong and live the happy life. Here's my new view on living in Jo'Burg.

It's not for those without a tough skin and an ability to make change from the often protected and 'modern' way of living in so many parts of the World. Life here will frustrate you, mess with your morals and values and generally give you a lot of daily challenges.

Safety is a huge daily concern. We've never been burgled, I don't live in a fortress with an electric fence etc etc but I do live in a fairly, for the moment, old school neighbourhood which is pretty safe compared to most in the West Rand. I had my animals poisened last year as did 5 houses in my street but the police caught the buggers. I'm quite lucky I've taken time to know my neighbours and people on my street, and get involved locally so I pretty much know what's going on. I also live in a fairly middle to working class area where there is old money and community and I live well away from the local township on the right side of the railway track.

Precautions. I live with a loaded gun during the day in my allocated bolthole / safe area in the house. I'm home all day with my sister in laws new born and my 15 month year old. I do hang out in my garden without fear by the pool. I refuse to live in fear and I don't think about it all day but it does take some practice to get into good habits. We don't for instance leave all the outside doors open if we are vegging in the house watch TV, just incase.

This probably sounds awful to anyone not used to taking precuations of this high level for safety. I travel with a teargas canesta in my car which is not legal, in case of a smash and grab. I make sure I know where crime hot spots are. I don't stop at red lights at night if I don't have to etc etc etc

The paperwork to do with anything here is loaded bank account applications, visa and processes of municipal government don't work and generally this place has to be treated like living in the 2nd or 3rd world and not the first. Get used to doing things 5 times and repeating yourself another 100. I told you frustrating. This will make you the most tolerant person in the world with the patience of a saint. Or you'll just give up. I find this and not the crime is what most expats hate funnily enough.

I will say I still love it here. It's taught me to toughen the hell up. It's taught me a lot about myself. I love the weather and the countryside, the fishing resorts, the coastal beauty, the bushveld the list goes on. I have an amazing Afrikaans family and hence my integration and knowledge about how to make the best out of life here is probably what makes or allows us to stay.

You'll also no doubt meet lots of Brit's in Sandton. I know at Action Netball there are loads.

I can't giftwrap this place as one for the faint hearted, it's not and for every happy person in my neighbourhood I can list a few who've quit SA because they can't or won't deal with what they've been left to experience here. What I can say is pretty much and barring any awful incidents of crime you can with £££'s and dollars have a very upmarket life here. You just need to be aware of what can go wrong and the best way to deal with it when it does.

Lastly and without expception racism does still exist here. Don't come expecting Nelson Mandela's ideal dream. We live in a time of corrupt government, racism and marginalisation running through much of business here. Black earn less than whites and are generally less educated and therefor many turn to crime and are unemployed. Blacks at the top level are often put there to make up numbers and those blacks who are genuinely worth their position are marginalised by whites because they are given unfair amounts of free share options under the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) schemes. Whilst this exists there is no way for society to ever become fair and based on equality of knowledge and experience not colour. Many big companies will try and fool you they have fair and honest recruitment processes, payschemes, retention schemes etc but in practice this countries had so much history they can't let go. It's changing slowly but without change at the top nothing will change below. I'll tell you we got some looks from some of hubby's ex army buddies (white blokes) when my mates from the office and my best mate from the UK turned up because of how many black friends we have.

I will say this though. If you're brazen enough like me to stand up against racist comments and behaviour no one stands in your way. I often point out the racist nature of BEE towards the whites and the racist nature of whites who sweepingly blame blacks for all the crime in this country. One thing you can do here is pretty much speak your mind anywhere as you see fit.

So there we are. My full and frank account of the country for now I call home with my amazing Saffer hubby and his weird and wonderful family and friends. I've a big house, a couple of nice cars, don't live in fear and have learnt to accept this weird place. I tell you a weekend out near Parys fishing in the mountains makes it all worth while.

Hope that helps..

Last edited by Maddyjvn; Feb 27th 2012 at 12:29 pm. Reason: soap box ranting spelling errors LOL
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Old Mar 2nd 2012, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Hi All - thanks for your feedback - Im sure it will very valuble to me in the next few months.

I just thought I would give an update to the moving situation.

Negotiation is nearly finalised and we will be getting nearly all of our requirments (the company baulked at business class personal flights.................swines ) but covered everything else we need to our satisfaction.

Start date is looking like the mid to end of april - so lots to think about.

My next query is about emplyment for myself - obviously i will be accompaning my hubby - and was wondering what limitations I would come up against.

Currently in Abu Dhabi my hubby sponsors me which allows me to work for any other employer - what is the situation in SA ? Would I have to have my own visa?

I am a Health and Safety manager with 10 years experience and all the qualifications so am hoping to get find something suitable with reasnable renumeration.

I have scouted about the web looking for answers as to the visa issue but have never found anything to clear or exact about requirements.

Thanking you all in advance.

Liz
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Old Mar 3rd 2012, 3:38 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Hey Liz,

You know April is Autumn, and it gets cold in winter, right?

Pablo and JaJ know more about visas but I'm pretty sure you'll need your own.
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Old Mar 3rd 2012, 9:07 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by ededed
Hey Liz,

You know April is Autumn, and it gets cold in winter, right?

Pablo and JaJ know more about visas but I'm pretty sure you'll need your own.
Hi Ed,

Lol - yes I know its Autumn - but having spent most of my life dealing with the UK weather - and my formative years were spent on the top of a mountain in deepest darkest Wales, where we were snowed in for three weeks every winter ! - yes i think I will be able to handle a few cold nights.

Thanks
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Old Mar 4th 2012, 4:16 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Curly27
Hi Ed,

Lol - yes I know its Autumn - but having spent most of my life dealing with the UK weather - and my formative years were spent on the top of a mountain in deepest darkest Wales, where we were snowed in for three weeks every winter ! - yes i think I will be able to handle a few cold nights.

Thanks
Delighted to hear it! It gets to below freezing most nights for 6 weeks or so and the days hover at around 10 degrees celcius. The houses aren't built to handle the summer heat, or the winter cold!!
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Old Mar 5th 2012, 7:35 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Curly27
Hi All - thanks for your feedback - Im sure it will very valuble to me in the next few months.

I just thought I would give an update to the moving situation.

Negotiation is nearly finalised and we will be getting nearly all of our requirments (the company baulked at business class personal flights.................swines ) but covered everything else we need to our satisfaction.

Start date is looking like the mid to end of april - so lots to think about.

My next query is about emplyment for myself - obviously i will be accompaning my hubby - and was wondering what limitations I would come up against.

Currently in Abu Dhabi my hubby sponsors me which allows me to work for any other employer - what is the situation in SA ? Would I have to have my own visa?

I am a Health and Safety manager with 10 years experience and all the qualifications so am hoping to get find something suitable with reasnable renumeration.

I have scouted about the web looking for answers as to the visa issue but have never found anything to clear or exact about requirements.

Thanking you all in advance.

Liz
Sadly they are very strict about working here. Even being married to a Saffer does not mean I auto qualify to work. You'll need to seek work and then once you have an offer apply for a work permit which is just an add on to your temporary residence visa. That's what I did. It's become such a bloody issue I've quit work to look after mine and his sisters kids at the moment. I'll go back to work once I get my perm. status through.

Is there a company sorting out your hubby's? You should ask whoever's sorting his to help you with your applications etc it's much easier. And again if you're working or applying to work for a corporate they'll normally assist. Just be aware unless you're a permenant resident or very professionally qualified ie lawyer, doctor, engineer etc many companies are unwilling to employ non-South African residents even for temporary work or administration posts. It's because there is such a shortage of jobs and if they employ non locals it counts against their company statistics in terms of BEE etc My 12 years as an EA at Global Corp. level counted for nothing. They are very much pro qualifications and bugger experience. It's changing but it's still a mission for many of us expats.

As for winter here...high altitude, cold and biting winds in Jo'burg. We get black frost which kills everything green! It doesn't last long and isn't everyday but don't expect warm cosy days at 24 degrees. They will happen but in between the cold snaps. There is generally no rain here for about 2-3 months in winter. If you get a chance to head out towards the Drakensburg for some beautiful snowy scenery mixed with some good days of winter sun do. It will take your breath away!
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Old Mar 5th 2012, 10:25 am
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Default Re: johannesburg accomodation

Originally Posted by Maddyjvn

...

As for winter here...high altitude, cold and biting winds in Jo'burg. We get black frost which kills everything green! It doesn't last long and isn't everyday but don't expect warm cosy days at 24 degrees. They will happen but in between the cold snaps. There is generally no rain here for about 2-3 months in winter. If you get a chance to head out towards the Drakensburg for some beautiful snowy scenery mixed with some good days of winter sun do. It will take your breath away!

Indeed! It can get REALLY cold in Joeys. The Drakensberg is fab!
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