South Africans may be flocking to the exit doors, but many are still missing their home country.

The latest data from SARS showed that over 40,00 taxpayers ended their tax residency in South Africa in the last five years.

Responding in a parliamentary Q&A in May, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that 2,700 of the individuals made more than half a million each year, whilst another 1,100 earned more than R1 million per year. Overall, this led to tax losses of R1.3 billion in assessed tax that South Africa is losing.

The latest Wealth Migration Report 2023 from Henley & Partners also stated that 400 High Net-Worth Individuals – those with a net worth of over US$1 million (about R19 million) – emigrated last year. 2023 is expected to see another 500 leave the country.

However, it is not only the wealthy that are leaving South Africa.

“The type of individual leaving South Africa is no longer one with established wealth and years of experience under their belt,” said Thomas Lobban, Head of Expatriate Tax Residency at Financial Emigration.

“These days, most individuals leaving South Africa are still in the early stages of their career, evidently seeking better opportunities and security abroad, often between 30 to 45 years of age.”

Although South Africans are leaving, emigrants still miss quintessentially South African things.

A recent survey shared over 300 South African online expat social groups and compiled by private Home is Where the Heart is: SA Expats Worldwide Facebook group shows what South African emigrants miss from their homeland.


The survey asked which food the respondents to name the dish that they most regret leaving behind.

South African meat topped the list, with biltong claiming gold with 27%, followed by boerewors at 18%.


Amidst the 2023 Rugby World Cup fanfare, it is no surprise that rugby is incredibly popular with South African emigrants.

47% of respondents said that they think South Africa will win the competition, while another 32% said that they should at least reach the finals.


South Africans abroad also cited their country of origin as a special place to visit on holiday.

37% of respondents said that they prefer Cape Town as their preferred holiday location, followed by the Kruger National Park (17%), the Drakensberg (11%) and the Natal Coast (9%).


The survey also asked expats which South African shows they missed.

Recently cancelled 7de Laan took the top spot with 27% of the vote. Despite also being cancelled in 2010, Egoli was in the second spot with 18%.

Noot vir Noot (15%) was in third place, followed by Generations and Eastern Mosaic.

Slang problem

Another issue for South Africans is using South African slang in everyday speech, with common terms such as robot or bakkie often confusing foreigners.

36% of respondents said that a braai is not the same as a barbecue, whilst 26% said that they used lekker the most often.

Howzit is still a popular greeting for 12% of respondents, and 13% admitted that still say eish.

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