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Constraints to secure livelihoods in the informal sector: the case of informal enterprises in Delft South, Cape Town

By Sibonelesihle Shabalala

Abstract

Includes bibliographical references.Most people who work in developing cities, work in the informal sector. In South Africa's townships, many poor households rely on home-based informal economic activities as their primary source of livelihood. However, these livelihoods often face multiple constraints, and thus remain precarious. The main research question is: What are the key constraints to securer informal livelihoods in Delft South? The research employs the case study method to address this question. This dissertation engages with the lived realities of informal business operators in Delft South, Cape Town. Enterprise census data was analyzed and in-depth interviews with a selection of enterprise owners conducted. This provides a unique insight into the nature of the informal economy in Delft South and the way in which planning shapes current livelihoods. This case is located in previous research on home based work both in South Africa and internationally. This is with a view to informing more appropriate planning responses. The findings indicate the high degree of saturation in Delft South's informal sector. As such, business competition is rife, and livelihoods are compromised. Also evident is that the informal operators of Delft South ply their trades in a regulatory environment oscillating between extremes of neglect and oppression. The permission granted to spaza shop and hair care enterprise operators to conduct their businesses is accompanied by little else in the way of support for business growth. Alternatively, the livelihoods of shebeen owners are under threat, as these enterprises are prohibited from operating in all residential areas of the settlement; and are instead forced to relocate to the high street. This is compounded by the closure to which they are subjected, owing to their exclusion from the framework of the Western Cape Liquor Act. Crime also emerges as a significant impediment to business growth, and its effects are experienced by most of the operators in Delft South. Notably, it distinguishes the working climate of the area's informal sector from those of many other developing contexts. Under the guidance of the enterprise operators, key state interventions are recommended in response. The study concludes by proposing an area-based management approach in which collective action among operators is promoted

Topics: City and Regional Planning
Publisher: School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:open.uct.ac.za:11427/13331

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