Original Research

Scarce skills expatriates in South African universities: Rhetoric and realities of the “Messianic” academics

Mokoko Sebola
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 11, No 4 | a53 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v11i4.53 | © 2015 Mokoko Sebola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2016 | Published: 31 December 2015

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Mokoko Sebola, School of Economics & Management, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa

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This article investigates the reason for the continued scarce skills shortage, despite the recruitment of expatriates in academic institutions as an intervention measure. It argues that while the Human Resources Departments in South African universities motivate for the appointment of expatriates in the development of scarce skills, little monitoring is done to determine the effectiveness of this objective and, often, no performance instrument exists for such personnel. As such, the scarce skills to be developed continue to be wanting in the country. This article is conceptual and uses literature to argue about the hypothetical relation between the lack of a monitoring tool for expatriates and the continued scarce skills problems that universities cannot address. It concludes that the continued lack of a performance-monitoring instrument in South African universities for contracted expatriates will not solve the skills shortage problem experienced in South Africa.


expatriates; scarce skills; performance monitoring; universities; South Africa


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