🇿🇦 SA’s Remote Work Plan…

Plus: Presidential cows, hacked IP bosses & how to set up a subscription business in SA.
March 5, 2024

Pulse racing? This 5-minute video of a space capsule returning to Earth is like a mini sci-fi masterpiece. Highlights: the red glow of re-entry and that first free spin in the atmosphere.

In this Open Letter:

  • Smart play: Earning Dollars & Pounds in SA.
  • AI customer service, presidential cattle and hacked company registers
  • Steady income: How to set up a subscription business.
  • What business you trust grads with: The results are in.
  • Share this: And get free business tools.

Earning Dollars & Pounds in SA

Cape Town is one of the best places in the world to live… 

And that’s not us being biased. 

The city was voted the 2nd best city globally to visit or stay. 

Yes, it’s beautiful, but one of the main reasons it's such a great place to live has nothing to do with Cape Town the city itself – but rather the general affordability of things in South Africa. 

According to the Big Mac index, (a cost-of-living comparison tool some economists swear by), a Big Mac costs R51.90 in SA and £4.49 in Britain. Considering the exchange rate, SA is 52.6% cheaper to live in.

No wonder we have so many Europeans and Americans living like lords here at the Southern tip of SA…

So cheap

But it goes the other way, too.

Spending those international pounds locally is obviously good for South Africa’s economy. 

So we think it was a surprisingly smart (if a little late) move of government to announce its visa for foreign remote workers wanting to enjoy a more affordable quality of life over here – even if only for up to 6 months a year.

Not just for Remote Workers

In the UK the average salary is just under R60’000 vs just under R 25’000 in South Africa. 

Meaning if you can land a job in the UK that you do from South Africa, not only do you get around 2.5x more in income, you can buy ± double the amount of Big Macs (or anything else by that estimation).

Skilled South Africans in IT and finance are being headhunted by international employers, leading to a surge in global recruitment over 2023.

In Offerzen’s 2024 State of the Software Developer Nation, we see that 9.1% of the companies South African software developers work for are based outside of South Africa (probably around 10’000 of them).

This number is up from last year’s 3.9% and is indicative of the value international companies are seeing in hiring SA workers and how rapidly the trend is growing.

There is a catch to this, though.

Ai imagined this is how you will jol when you land that $ paying job

The legalities

Hiring a South African from abroad is not straightforward – you need a local business entity that can hire, file taxes and manage employment matters.

But that’s where Employer of Record (EoR) services come in. 

EoR sets up entities and manages the admin of payroll and taxes for overseas companies wanting to hire South Africans, all for a monthly fee per employee.

While there are a few global players (like Remote, Papaya and RemoFirst) that offer the service within SA and abroad, there are local ones: HireJustNow can do the same thing – probably for lower fees, though, since they live in SA where the cost of living is lower and all that.

So if the company with that overseas job you’re eyeing doesn’t have an EoR yet, you know where to send them (and get yourself hired).

The world is becoming more globalised and more and more South Africans are taking remote jobs from within SA. And with that, chances are there are major opportunities everywhere. We‘re watching this space.


🤑 Funded. South African startup Cue lands R38 million in seed funding. The AI-driven customer service platform aims to provide faster and more personalised customer service experiences for businesses.

🥸 Hacked. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), the official regulatory body for registering companies, co-operatives, and intellectual property rights in South Africa, has suffered a security breach that compromised its clients’ and employees’ personal information.

👨‍⚖️ Sued. Elon Musk is suing OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT and its CEO, Sam Altman, saying they’ve abandoned their original mission to build artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity.

📃 Regulated. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is amending some of its regulations, including how data bundles are consumed (the ones expiring soonest). Unused data from 7-30 day bundles will get carried over. And networks are required to send alerts to users when they reach 50%, 80%, and 100% of their data allowance.

🐄 Auctioned. SA President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Ntaba Nyoni cattle auction at his Phala Phala farm earned nearly R15 million in sales. The top-selling lot was a 3-in-1 — a pregnant Ankole cow plus a calf, sold for a cool R1.8 million.


How to Set Up a Subscription Business

Shortly after the rise of digital business in the early 2000s, we all learnt a pretty crucial lesson: You can’t just keep forking out money to get new customers. 

Can’t trust Jordan

Fostering loyalty and return business was the name of the game for most of the 2010s.

But if you caught last week’s How Would You Build It podcast on unlocking the township economy, you’ll know a major SA trend right now is creating lifestyle-based subscriptions like Ucook etc., rather than just once-off e-commerce sales.

Good for the customer, but more importantly, good for business.

It’s the global trend called the subscription economy and basically requires building long-term customer relationships, in exchange for steady, predictable income. Here’s how to get going …

What you need to get set up

1. Get an online presence

If you can build a website, great: There are lots of easy low/no-code tools like Webflow or WordPress with commerce capabilities. Otherwise, you can simply set up a LinkTree to cross-promote various social channels and places where you display products/services – and even link to your payments processing (see Point 4 below). You can even use Whatsapp as a way to get customers.

2. Get logistics/delivery sorted

One of the main plays in subscriptions is making sure your customers get their goods every month. Fortunately, you have flexible options like Pargo. They offer a practically nationwide delivery network using pickup points (so you don’t have the headaches of home delivery). And it also gives your customers some options about where and when they collect their goods. Nice.

3. Organise your warehousing/storage

Next, you want your stock to be secure and easily accessible to customers when they need it. So look at services like Parcelninja which offers smart warehousing, storage, picking, packing and even integration with bigger retailers. It’s just so much easier than trying to store and manage all your stock from home.

4. Get super-easy payments collection

Lastly, and probably most importantly, you want to make paying for your services simple, easy, effective and enjoyable – no more haggling and stressing over late EFTs on WhatsApp, please!

That’s when you get yourself a smart social payment solution like WigWag. It comes with a handy subscription API that you just set up for the customer once and then it’s all automated – it’ll even do automatic retries if a debit fails for whatever reason.

And there you have it; with everything automated, you can focus on what’s really important: Growing your subscription business!

Got a startup business model hack? Hit reply and let us know (and maybe you get featured here, too).

Today’s Builder’s Corner is done in collaboration with Danielle Laity who is an expert in product strategy, specifically in FinTech.

You can connect with her on Linkedin right here.


We asked what you would (or wouldn’t) trust grads with, and things got a little interesting…

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🤷🏽‍♀️ nothing (5%)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ ☕️ my extra hot soya milk latte with 1.25 sugars order (5%)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🪓 manual labour only (7%)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🧠 all kinds of interesting work (71%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 📉 they run my business (12%)

Your 2 cents…


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