Why South Africans Aren’t Hired as Online English Teachers

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 01/06/23 •  Teach Online

Numerous companies hire South African teachers, so there is an opportunity to teach. Still, South Africans need help getting hired as online teachers compared to other nationalities.

The reasons for this are numerous, but we will do our best to be fair and explain why an ever-growing list of online teaching companies are deciding to pass on hiring South African teachers altogether, as well as why they are not renewing contracts for current South African teachers.

Here are the main reasons South Africans are not being hired:

Most South Africans are not native English speakers.

Countries in the ESL world, like Thailand and China, have caught on that most South Africans don’t speak English as a native language.

With around 9.6% being native speakers, employers now view South Africa as a non-native English-speaking country.

This results in the varied quality of teachers from South Africa. Parents want their students to study with a native speaker, mainly if it’s in an online environment. Not an Afrikaans speaker posing as a native speaker.

Resource intensive to process applications

The issue for many online teaching companies is how resource intensive it is to sort through applications from South African teachers. With hundreds of applications a month, it simply becomes a waste of time and resources to process South African applications, schedule an interview, and then find out they are not a native speaker.

Companies like SayABC used to hire South Africans, but as speaking English as a native language is an absolute requirement, they can’t allow Afrikaans speakers who pose as native speakers to teach.

It’s this difficulty of finding the proverbial needle in a haystack (that is, a South African who speaks English as a native language) that causes most online teaching companies to not bother with applications from South African teachers, as the overwhelming majority of applications are from non-native English speakers from South Africa.

Internet and electricity issues in South Africa

The “rainbow nation” is now regarded as a first-world country being transformed into a 3rd world country. With political violence, crime, poor-quality internet, and power outages, it’s too risky for many online teaching companies to hire South Africans.

An online teaching company is as only as good as its teachers. It’s too risky to hire teachers living in a country with rolling blackouts (load shedding).

If you’re a parent, what would you think if the expensive online teaching company you’re paying for had teacher no-shows? It’s bad for business, and it’s better not to hire South African teachers, as the negatives outweigh the positives.


I know this will be an unpopular post. Still, we’ve received numerous private messages via our contact form and comments on particular posts demanding why South African teachers are not considered.

I know it’s pretty unfair if you’re English South African and speak English as a native language. Still, most South Africans don’t speak English as a native language and thus are less desirable than North American or UK citizens.

This, combined with the rolling blackouts the public utility company has implemented, makes it more difficult than it’s worth to hire South Africans. Parents pay a premium for their children to study with a native speaker. Afrikaans speakers are not native English speakers and combined with the risk of being a no-show, it’s not worth it for most online teaching companies to hire South Africans.

We don’t want this post to be all doom and gloom. Again numerous online teaching companies hire South Africans. Check out our list for your best South African online English teacher options.

Also, online companies know that many South African teachers use a VPN to appear to be located elsewhere. This is a type of fraud, so please don’t do it. You’ll end up wasting everyone’s time.

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.