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Could you give a brief introduction about yourself and your experiences in the international moving industry?

I have worked in the International Moving industry going on 37 years…Started off my career working for a small family moving business in Pretoria whilst studying Transport at Rand Afrikaans University!  Having completed my studies I joined an International Corporate Moving company (Stuttaford Van Lines) as Branch Manager and 20 years later was running the brand as their General Manager!  I was then approached by Crown Relocations “new to the Africa shores” to head up the Africa region for the group and took on the Challenge…..15 years later we have become quite a force to reckon with in Africa!  Thank you to the industry I have travelled extensively which has certainly enriched my life.

What is the typical segment of customers that you are servicing for relocation service? Is it the millennials audience, families or rather retirees?

At the moment we have been very busy dealing more with Families looking for better prospects around the world!  I have found that the millennials who are relocating are less sentimental and in many cases move only with their personal luggage and start setting up a home from scratch when they arrive on the other side!   A few years after families have relocated do we get the enquiries from the retired parents who are looking at joining their kids on the other side!  The retirees do look at downsizing and tend to take less with them as do the young families relocating!

How would you describe the political and economic landscape in South Africa at the moment?

No matter where you sit in the world you will always have political and economic issues!   We certainly do have serious political and economic problems in South Africa and many people could justify why a move out of South Africa is needed!  The adage the grass in not always greener on the other side is something that needs to be kept in mind – we have had a big change in political leadership recently which was driven by the people of South Africa – I believe that all “South Africans” are becoming more aware of how bad corruption and the like are and will remain verbal until our leaders demonstrate that they have integrity and also the interests of the poor at heart!

There has been some comments with negative tone in the international media recently. How do you rate it? What are your expectations for the future in South Africa, from economic point of view as well as from social point of view as a family father?

We have had some horrific media coverage recently – especially relating to bribery and corruption.  The majority of South Africans were all appalled by the lack of integrity shown by a few leaders in power!  Unfortunately due to lack of integrity from their fellow workers all had their names tainted by condoning what was going on!   The voice of South Africa spoke and big changes were “eventually” made!   Sanity will prevail!  I believe that there are so many good people living in South Africa  and the fact that South Africa has so much more to offer families than most countries around the world – i.e. brilliant weather throughout the year, great education opportunities (obviously you need to be able to afford good education), fantastic sporting opportunities, fantastic wildlife, nature on our doorstep, and a very liberal and progressive constitution.  Our country is rich in history and culture and the fact that because of the size of the population here there are fantastic entrepreneurial opportunities available to progressive and determined people.  

The international moving business is generally very much affected by political, social and economic changes? How have the last 2 years impacted on inbound/outbound traffic of moving services from/to South Africa with Crown Relocations?

Sadly as an industry we are presently going through the worst time in history with corporate giants around the world cutting back on their expat staff placements, economies in many countries struggling causing the man on the street to think twice before selling their home to relocate!  As South Africans we need to encourage foreign investment by focusing on the positives which will create more job opportunities for everyone!

Which main advice would you give people who have never been to South Africa, and to people who want to move to South Africa?

Get here!  Invest in property – some great deals around…your foreign currency will buy you and your family a good life!  Personal advice would be to invest in a secure lifestyle Security Estate – this will not only buy you peace of mind but will also enrich your families outdoor lifestyle – enjoying the great South African weather!

And finally which would be your recommendation to residents or expats in South Africa who are planning to move abroad/to a new destination?

Most South Africans leaving our shores have moved to Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada!  Moving is such a traumatic occurrence – my advice to you would be to ensure that you have a support structure in place on the other side!   Nothing can replace family and close friends!  Probably an important issue is also to ensure that you have adequate money to fund not only the move but to put yourselves into a similar lifestyle that you had in South Africa!   I have seen the toll that financial strain can put on the breadwinner!  

Do you see yourself living in South Africa for a long time? Why?

Having worked in this industry for the past 37 years and seen what has driven fellow South Africans to leave these shores….and listening to their reasoning justifying their decisions……notwithstanding the fact that the world is becoming a global village and folk can live anywhere and work remotely…….  History is made every day…..things happen…but life goes on and will carry on in South Africa for many years to come!  I personally am at the late stages of my career so yes my plan is to see my days out in Africa!  If I was younger I certainly would want to travel and experience what the world has to offer but Africa is in my blood and would ultimately plan the latter days of my life here!

Would you say is it a good place to raise a family? Why?

Absolutely I have to refer to a wonderful article that I read off “the Good Things Guy” website written by Susan a thirty – something mother of three………. A great read and I concur with her sentiments 100%



An interview with Ian Pettey, Regional Director Africa at Crown Worldwide Group

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