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SLF Summer Newsletter - February 2020
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Dear SLF supporters and followers,

Welcome to our summer newsletter. 

We would like to welcome you to the new year and the first quarter of 2020. SLF has been engaging in a range of activities in the past months, conducting various research projects. Some of the projects have been ongoing such as the resurvey of informal micro-enterprises in Delft. The SLF team has concluded the assessment of the Ingulube Road and Amsterdam Street in Philippi. We have exciting news on the State of The Nation album and we also welcome a new staff member Carol Masingi. Carol has recently graduated from a masters in development studies at UCT and joined SLF as a social scientist to support our current and new projects. Furthermore, we bid fond farewell to Rory Liedeman who, after 6 years of full-time employment at SLF has joined our friends, The Safety Lab. We wish Rory all the best.

 

 

Seen in Delft. Are the bars designed to keep the criminals out or the shopkeepers in?

 

Signs of ‘modern slavery’ in the township economy. 
In late February, Leif Petersen was on Radio Islam and Metro FM to discuss informal micro-enterprises and signs of 'modern slavery' in the township economy. This follows a published article written in conjunction with Andries du Toit of PLAAS, having gained traction on various online news platforms such as The Cape Argus, Daily Maverick, The Herald Live, Moneyweb, The Conversation and Biznews.com. The key findings in the article suggest that although informal township businesses bring important social benefits to local South Africans, they continue to bypass labour regulation laws. The spaza shop sector particularly, has witnessed an emergence of a new class of spaza shop owners who we describe in the paper as ‘informalists’. Informalists capitalize on the concessions granted to micro-enterprises in the township economy, however commonly operate at a scale where they should be obliged to fall under the auspices of the regulatory framework, for example, employing staff under the prescribed conditions of the BCEA.

While many of these new informalists businesses are operated by non-South Africans, the crux of the matter should not be reduced to the simplistic replacement of local spaza shop owners by foreigners. Instead, we argue that one should carefully engage with the very structure of the spaza shop sector itself. Most South African and foreign spaza shop employees work under poor conditions earning less than the stipulated minimum wage. The South African government needs to create a regulatory framework that promotes fair trading and inclusive growth to avoid creating conditions that allow the evasion of regulations by informal businesses. Those that stand to lose are not only traditional spaza shop owners, but the spaza shop employees - both South African and foreign - who are vulnerable to exploitative work conditions. A more detailed discussion can be found here.

Do not forget to tune in on Classic FM, Leif Petersen will be discussing the township economy on the 9th of March at 18:00.

 

 


A South African spaza shop

 

The third wave resurvey of informal micro-enterprises in the township of Delft.
In the last quarter SLF researchers conducted a third wave resurvey (2010, 2015 and now 2020) of informal micro-enterprises in the township of Delft. The objective of the resurvey was to identify all existing and newly established micro-enterprises in the township of Delft. The research sought to identify evidence of enterprise growth and/or change through documenting all enterprise activities and again to record the spatial distribution of each business. The research identified the growth of a new type of informal enterprise - informal rental housing. While there is an increase in formal retailers such as malls, spaza shops remain at risk and ‘survivalist’ businesses in Delft are decreasing in numbers. We also learned that businesses including spaza shops owners are being increasingly forced by local gang members to pay ‘protection fees’ to protect their businesses against crime. The informal rental housing sector has potential for growth and to create a new middle-class in Delft however, a range of township businesses face increasing threat with the establishment of new malls in the township.





SLF researchers in Delft

State of the Nation
The State of the Nation album is now available for streaming on Spotify and on Youtube and will soon be available on Itunes/Apple music for subscribers. Since the release of the 41 000 Sisters music video,  the video has gained over 1 520 views on Youtube, 6740 views on Facebook with 120 shares, while Rand Theft Auto video has over 785 views on Facebook. The album is a reflection of 25 years of democracy of South Africa, and focuses on a topic close to the heart of SLF, which is inequality.
More videos are soon to come! Check out the website, and sign up here to receive your copy or stream the album on Spotify!







Check out 41 000 sisters music video here!
Philippi High Street Study: Ingulube Road and Amsterdam Street
SLF was commissioned by the Philippi Economic Development Initiative (PEDI) to conduct an assessment of informal trading conditions and business development along Ingulube Road and Amsterdam Street in the township of Philippi. The PEDI was tasked with producing high street development concepts and a design concept for the revitalization of the local business hives. The outputs of the study will inform City of Cape Town investments to support informal trading and micro-enterprise businesses along the corridor. SLF undertook the high street study to provide recommendations for the improvement of informal trading and business conditions along the corridor. This project included a series of participatory engagements with the Philippi trading community to understand their needs and to investigate the feasibility of formalizing informal businesses. The project commenced in November 2019 and concluded in February 2020. SLF researchers surveyed all the businesses along the high streets and on completion invited a group of traders to attend a workshop. The traders engaged in a participatory learning workshop where they would identify areas that required improvement and development priority. The Amsterdam Street and Ingulube Road corridor has proven to be an important business precinct. The corridor should be prioritized by the City of Cape Town for strategic interventions in order to improve the quality of the space and support small enterprises around the area. Traders in the corridor need more support from the City of Cape Town.



 
A mobile braai in Philippi
SLF and Cities Support Programme
SLF is supporting the National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme (CSP) to provide expertise and undertake research on township economic development. The CSP is a demand driven programme that seeks to enable cities to better support urban economic growth, creating an enabling intergovernmental environment; (ii) developing fiscal policy incentives for change and (iii) providing city implementation support. The objective of the CSP is therefore to improve the prospects for inclusive economic growth in cities, and to help cities respond to the development challenges they face. The programme works with metropolitan municipalities across South Africa to increase cities' contribution to inclusive economic growth and implement township economic development strategies. Cities are engines of growth in the South African economy and within every city, there are stark inequalities where townships are marginalised from the benefits of growth. This arises from the legacy of apartheid policies, compounded with exclusive spatial planning that have exacerbated unemployment conditions and poverty in townships. Townships continue to face challenges of spatial exclusion, economic inclusion and participation, and city competitiveness. The work that SLF is undertaking focuses specifically on township economies and will engage in the actual implementation of integrated township economic development strategies in 5 cities.
Once again, thank you for your continuing support and interest in the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation. Keep an eye on our social media platforms for more exciting updates.

Signs of 'modern slavery' in the township economy
 
Read

Philippi High Street Study: Ingulube Road and Amsterdam Street
Read

 A Resurvey of Delft South

 
Read

State of the Nation


 
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41,000 Sisters - Kaalvoet Prinses
 
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Rental Flats, a growing business in Delft
 
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