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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.
While the South African government is tackling poverty amongst its citizenry as a national priority and has developed various pro-poor initiatives, how generously do ordinary South Africans give of their own time and money to assist with the alleviation of poverty, and why?
From Conflict to Negotiation provides a South African case study of the shift from protectionism to sustainable devlopment in the 1990's. Located on the wild coast of the Eastern Cape, Dwesa-Cwebe consists of a nature and marine reserve with eight adjacent resident communities that have historically depended on local forest, grassland and coastal resources. This are has been the focus of one of the earliest efforts in the 'new' South Africa to restore to the Xhosa-speaking residents ownership of the protected area from which they had been excluded for decades. Unusually the resident initiated the process.