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Informal self-employment in the township context: A case study of four Cape Town localities

Principal Investigator: Charman, A., Petersen, L and C. Skinner

A recent survey of literature on South African unemployment ‘discourse landscape’ draws attention to the many gaps in our knowledge of the economic mechanisms through which the informal self-employed (along with the unemployed) survive and the mobility barriers that hinder transitions (unemployed to informal self-employed, self-employed to formally employed) (Fourie, 2012). Fourie poses the question of how to view and model the informal sector; he writes: ‘is it a problem sector – i.e. aberration – or rather a promising sector and basis for people to be economically productive and generate income?’ (2012:50).

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