This article serves to describe our lived experience from a longstanding Relocation Destination Service Provider (DSP) in the Relocation Industry, Relocation Africa. Founded in 1993, our footprint is the continent of Africa where they provide Mobility services to the Relocation Industry.
Price is an important factor in making any purchasing decision, but when it comes to our most important assets, our people, quality should play a much larger role in influencing the purchasing decision than for other products or services.
Price is just a number. Quality is an ideal we strive for in our business, and as a business that embraces the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, we see a constant improvement and positive influence in the quality of our service and in our decision making by keeping these SDG’s top of mind.
This focus on quality delivers a direct benefit to our clients and it is why we have received several global awards for the quality of our service, even though our volumes across the entire continent of Africa are a fraction that a competitor will be delivering in one 1st world city – we are extremely proud of these awards, and they reflect our focus on providing high quality service. “Best value for money” is a common phrase used in the service industry. The best definition to capture the message of this article is the United Kingdom’s Department of Finance’s definition; “the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability to meet customer requirements.” Sustainability is deeply rooted in influencing the choice of quality over price.
Is there a disproportionate focus on price rather than quality in the global relocation industry? Our investigations show that there are certain sectors in our industry where this appears to be the case. The pressures that this new COVID reality we are all trying to navigate puts on all business brings costs front and center for all, however the duty of care for employers hasn’t reduced – if anything it has become greater and bringing this debate to the fore is vital to ensure that all international assignees are receiving the appropriate care from their employers.
The drive towards throwing technology at the problem is vital, both for cost saving as well as planet saving, however it can’t replace the services delivered and the human imperative – it can complement and enhance them – an app can’t drive you to a house or provide emotional support to a concerned spouse … well, not in Africa … yet.

The world has come to a complete standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many industries, companies and businesses have been affected by this, compelling them to restructure the way business is conducted. The global mobility and relocation industries are some of the industries that have been severely impacted by the global pandemic. This in turn has affected the mobility industry, ultimately affecting the relocation industry. Relocation Africa, mobility, relocation, and immigration business has been largely affected by this pandemic.

In efforts to combat the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of their citizens, states have enforced bolder border entry restrictions, travel bans, and quarantine adherences. This has made managing the expatriate and international assignee workforce complex and challenging. Relocation Africa, situated in a continent that has been administered severe travel restrictions from third world countries while undergoing a slow vaccine rollout. Relocation Africa provides a variety of Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration and Expatriate Tax services across the continent of Africa, assisting individuals and corporate clients settle into new environments as efficiently as possible.

The mobility, immigration and relocation industry has had to change the way they conduct business, to resort to flexible and remote ways in engaging their mobile expatriates and international assignees. At Relocation Africa has had to change their normal procedure/ operations of mobility and relocation to accommodate the travel restrictions and their clients.

Relocation Africa has flexed all its programs. Adding new services such as remote packing up for clients, remotely or virtually selling products for countries who are not in the country, conducts virtual and adjusted services such as opening bank accounts to allow expatriates to do this more remotely. Relocation Africa has also extended its online platforms to include more information that is readily available to its clients. Relocation Africa has also had to ensure that all training and expectation management has considered COVID-19 protocols and to ensure each assignee safe and prioritised. We have also attempted to communicate more extensively to all our clients as we cover a large geography with very different regulations, border closing and re-opening, as well as immigration regulations that are adjusting as the pandemic changes.  We would like you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to ensure you are getting our updates on service offerings as well as travel updates and border regulations.






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Mother’s Day was a great to appreciate mothers and caregivers, yet it also a day to examine the maternal wall bias and discrimination that women and caregivers face in the workplace. An issue that is prevalent to mothers and caregivers is the maternal wall discrimination faced in the workplace. This is an additional barrier excluding working mothers and caregivers in the working place. Maternal discrimination is based on the stereotype that a woman’s responsibilities to her children prevent her from being a dependent, committed, and competent employee.

Women in the workplace may find their effectiveness and competency questioned once they become pregnant, take maternity leave or adopt flexible work schedules. Joan Williams raises an important examination of the gendered space that is the working environment. She writes, “When a childless woman is not in the office, she is presumed to be on business. An absent mother is often thought to be grappling with childcare. Managers and co-workers may mentally cloak pregnant women and new mothers in a haze of femininity, assuming they will be empathetic, emotional, gentle, nonaggressive—that is, not very good at business. If these women shine through the haze and remain tough, cool, emphatic, and committed to their jobs, colleagues may indict them for being insufficiently maternal.”

Joan Williams is apt in her description of what this maternal wall bias results in the workplace. It is the further reinforcement that a) women cannot separate their work life and the home matters, and b) the reinforcement of an aggressive capitalist narrative that treats people as commodities other than human beings who simultaneously operate outside the workplace. The duality of women is diminished by this maternal wall bias/discrimination. Women CAN be excellent caregivers and successful employees in the workplace. The P for people in the triple bottom line approach is often overlooked in the race for profit. People have responsibilities and duties beyond the workplace, they are affected by the occurrences beyond their professional bodies.

Employees can arm themselves with policies and constitutional rights in their countries and the workplace. Employment Equity Acts and Labour Relations have strict laws aimed to protect workers from unfair discriminations. Speak to your Human Relations (HR) about their policies and procedures in the company. Know your rights.

Williams writes that employers must examine their hiring, attendance, and promotion policies to ensure they are exempt from biased standard. Furthermore, she writes that employers ought to operate in a manner where job duties can be achieved and personnel decisions on legitimate business need rather than on assumptions about productivity and commitment.

Employers need to remove bias and stereotypes by addressing and educating employees and managers on unconscious and implicit bias. Employers can offer alternative solutions for mothers and caregivers such as remote channels such as Slack, WhatsApp meeting, Zoom etc. By creating inclusive spaces, you create a solution and a way around problems arising. Offer more inclusive policies beyond maternity leave. Policies should be inclusive of all family stages, perhaps offering parental leave for primary and secondary caregivers, offering family planning benefits for those considering parenthood too.

Relocation Africa is cognisant of the maternal wall bias and has created an inclusive policy to enact change in organisational culture.

Human Resources Manager, Joy Jackson explains: “ Flexibility for working moms at Relocation Africa: after returning from maternity leave – in conjunction with prior discussions and arrangements/approval from Head of Department  and HR a new working mom will participate in our hybrid Work From Home (2 days) and Work From the Office (3 days) structure and added to this can structure her lunch break to do a nursery school pick up and then resume WFH / WFO depending on the agreed arrangement. Mothers of older school-going children also have the flexibility to structure their lunchtimes according to the end of day school roster and can collect their child/children and drop them back at home or spend the last part of the day working from home depending on the time of day. In the case of emergencies, school-going children of working moms are allowed to stay at the office for a short period – in a separate venue that does not disturb colleagues or affect productivity,”

It is not enough to celebrate Mother’s Day, boasting about the care for mothers when you are not acknowledging their role as caregivers and bodies outside the workplace. Be on the right side of history and acknowledge the implicit bias on women, and work to eradicate it.

US maker of cooldrinks and snack foods PepsiCo has had its eye on the southern African consumer market for decades. Its effort to build a base in South Africa after 1994 ended in disaster and the company abandoned its effort to build a distribution network from scratch. The acquisition of Pioneer Foods, a giant in the local fast-moving consumer goods industry, offered it the perfect opportunity to enter the African market.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures adopted by South Africa and other countries brought many prospective mergers and acquisitions to a grinding halt as management concentrated on navigating their businesses through the crisis.

Deals that sneaked in ahead of the pandemic include Distell’s sale of Plaisir de Merle and Alto wine estates and Tiso Blackstar’s sale of Gallo Music to Lebashe Investment Group’s Arena Holdings for R75-million.

Where deals went ahead, often the terms were reassessed, with buyers concerned that earnings had been negatively affected by the economic turmoil. Tongaat’s sale of its starch business to a Barloworld subsidiary for R5.35-billion was an example. Although announced in February, the deal only went ahead in October after Barloworld satisfied itself that earnings had not been materially damaged.

The second wave of deals, which is gaining momentum, involves those where companies seek to bolster liquidity, or where international and local private equity players identify new opportunities for acquisitions arising out of the turmoil.

Both Aspen and Sasol sold some of the family silver to manage debt levels. In Aspen’s case, it sold the rights to its European thrombosis business to US pharmaceutical company Mylan for almost R12.82-billion in a deal that is likely to be value accretive.

Negotiating and concluding these deals entirely via Zoom meetings has introduced a new, more complex, dimension to dealmaking that often goes unnoticed.

With lenders starting to circle, debt-laden chemicals and energy group Sasol had no option but to sell 50% of its Lake Charles Chemical Project to LyondellBasell for R33-billion.

The bargains of the century include the sale in February of the somewhat neglected CNA chain by Edcon as it attempted its (now failed) journey back to financial health. The chain’s 167 stores were purchased lock, stock and barrel by the former CEO of Exclusive Books Benjamin Trisk and a consortium led by Astoria Investments.

Devastated by the Covid-19 lockdowns, Edcon was forced into a firesale of other assets. In July, TFG agreed to acquire 382 viable Jet stores and other selected Jet assets for R480-million.

Another opportunistic investment was Mr Price’s recent acquisition of Power Fashions, a value-oriented family-owned retailer with 170 stores across southern Africa.

The year also saw considerable introspection and portfolio rationalisation, resulting in asset manager Ninety One selling its local administration firm Silica to global wealth management platform FNZ, while MTN realised some capital through the sale of its 18.5% interest in Nigerian e-commerce firm Jumia.

The year had its share of delistings too, with property companies Intu and Grit Real Estate, and mining company Assore, leading the charge. Afrox will also delist after its German parent, the Linde Group, extended an offer to all the holders of Afrox’s shares that it doesn’t already own.

Outside of Sasol, the biggest deal of the year was the $1.7-billion (R26-billion) purchase of local food company Pioneer Foods by US giant PepsiCo, which was given the go-ahead by the Competition Tribunal in March, making PepsiCo’s return to South Africa official after its abortive efforts after 1994.

PepsiCo’s July offer of R110 a share was more than 50% of the value of Pioneer Foods’ shares in the month preceding the offer.

The deal also included a BBBEE ownership plan that will see R1.6-billion worth of PepsiCo stock issued to a local broad-based workers’ trust. This holding will be unencumbered and will allow for immediately realisable dividends. The stock in PepsiCo must, after five years, be converted into a direct shareholding in Pioneer of up to 13%.

Known for brands such as Weet-Bix, Liqui Fruit, White Star and Bokomo Corn Flakes, Pioneer has a massive distribution network throughout South Africa and across southern Africa. This type of retail influence is exactly what appeals to PepsiCo, whose brands include Gatorade, Quaker Foods, Ruffles and, of course, Pepsi.

At the time of the deal, PepsiCo CEO and chairman Ramon Laguarta said Pioneer Foods represents a “differentiated opportunity” for PepsiCo and allows the company to immediately scale its business in the region.

Like Walmart, which acquired 51% of Massmart in 2011, the acquisition is premised on its ability to provide a platform for growth in South Africa and southern Africa. Aside from establishing South Africa as its regional headquarters, PepsiCo committed to investing R5.5-billion over five years to develop the overall operations of Pioneer Foods.

It seems likely that these efforts will be slightly delayed due to the disruptions of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. There is no doubt that 2021 will be an interesting year.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].