The political freedoms ushered in by the post 1994 transition were seen at that time as the basis for redressing long-standing economic deprivations suffered by the majority of the population. The reduction of poverty, in all its dimensions, was the goal.
While the informal sector is the ‘forgotten’ sector in many ways, it provides livelihoods, employment and income for about 2.5 million workers and business owners. One in every six South Africans who work, work in the informal sector. Almost half of these work in firms with employees; these firms provide about 850 000 paid jobs – almost twice direct employment in the mining sector. The annual entry of new enterprises is quite high, as is the number of enterprises that grow their employment. There is no shortage of business initiative and desire to grow.