The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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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.

However, obstacles and constraints cause hardship and failure, pointing to the need for well-designed policies to enable and support the sector, rather than suppress it. The same goes for formalisation. Recognising the informal sector as an integral part of the economy is a crucial first step towards instituting a ‘smart’ policy approach.

This volume is strongly evidence- and data-driven, with substantial quantitative contributions combined with qualitative findings – suitable for an era of evidence-based policy-making – and utilises several disciplinary perspectives.


Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 512
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2534-3
Publish Year : March 2018
Rights : World Rights

Part I: Orientation and international context

  1. Analysing the informal sector in South Africa: Knowledge and policy gaps, conceptual and data challenges – Frederick Fourie
  2. The South African informal sector in international comparative perspective:

Theories, data and policies – Martha Chen

The informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa: A comparative perspective – Katharina Grabrucker, Michael Grimm & François Roubaud

Part II: The informal sector at the national level: A quantitative picture

  1. The size and structure of the South African informal sector 2008–2014: A labour-force analysis

Mike Rogan & Caroline Skinner

  1. Informal-sector employment in South Africa: An enterprise analysis using the SESE survey

Frederick Fourie

  1. Entry into and exit from informal enterprise ownership in South Africa

Neil Lloyd & Murray Leibbrandt

  1. Job-seeker entry into the two-tiered informal sector in South Africa

Nwabisa Makaluza & Rulof Burger

  1. The informal sector, economic growth and the business cycle in South Africa:

Integrating the sector into macroeconomic analysis – Philippe Burger & Frederick Fourie

  1. Informal-sector employment and poverty reduction in South Africa: The contribution of ‘informal’ sources of income – Paul Cichello & Michael Rogan

Part III: The informal sector in urban townships and rural areas

  1. Informal micro enterprises in a township context: A spatial analysis of business dynamics in five Cape Town localities – Andrew Charman & Leif Petersen
  2. Prospects for stimulating township economies: A case study of enterprises in two Midrand townships – Eddie Rakabe
  3. Limiting opportunities in the informal sector: The impact of the structure of the South African economy – Kate Philip
  4. Informal-sector employment in the rural non-farm economy in South Africa

David Neves & Andries du Toit

  1. Employment in informal-sector agriculture in South Africa

Ben Cousins

Part IV: Policy paradigms, statements, legislation and issues

  1. Evolving policy paradigms: The National Development Plan, employment and the informal sector in South Africa – Frederick Fourie
  2. Informal-sector policy and legislation in South Africa: Repression, omission and ambiguity

Caroline Skinner

  1. Enabling the forgotten sector: Informal-sector realities, policy approaches and formalisation in South Africa – Frederick Fourie


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