|On November 19th, IFAS-Research organised a seminar as part of the “Informality and Covid-19 in South Africa” project launched a few months ago. The main results of this research were presented and discussed. Based on the quantitative and qualitative data collected during the interviews with vulnerable workers – from car guards to street vendors and waste reclaimers –, the researchers presented the main results of the survey, which show the impoverishment of the vast majority of informal workers during the months of ‘hard lockdown’, with an average loss of 50% of income.
The results emphasised the solidarity networks mobilised by the respondents (family assistance, food distribution by churches and NGOs). Only one third of the respondents reportedly received direct assistance from the authorities. The researchers also highlighted the fate of foreign workers (4.2 million in 2019), excluded from government aid and especially vulnerable during the health crisis. Finally, the study showed the respondents’ difficulties in organising themselves collectively (only 16% are affiliated to trade unions); they had to rely on their personal networks to survive and, in the majority of cases, implement individual strategies. The researchers also found forms of resilience and adaptation (change of activity, mobilisation of networks, etc.) that are inseparable from informality. To this extent, the crisis linked to the pandemic appears as “one more vulnerability” and not as a major disruption for many of these informal workers, whose precariousness predates 2020.
10: 30 – 10:45: Welcome & Opening remarks: Address by the French Ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Aurélien Lechevallier.
10:50 – 11:15: Premiere of the documentary “What am I going to eat tomorrow?” Informal Workers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Johannesburg
11:15 – 11:45: Debate and discussion.
11:45 – 13h30: Lunch break.
13:30 – 17 h 00
- Scientific presentations and discussion
Chaymaa Hassabo: “Informality, lockdown and life trajectories”.
Celestine Jade Padayachee and Bianca Thandeka Mcameni: “Quantitative analysis of informal sector during lockdown”.
Celestine Jade Padayachee: “Studying the informal sector: A Reflection as a first-time Researcher.
Bianca Thandeka Mcameni: “The business of Food during Covid-19 lockdown: The Covid-19 experience of food delivery guys”.
Edson Chido Mutisi: “The lockdown came as a surprise, but we had savings, side jobs and families to lean on”.
Ndipiwe Mkuzo: “A Covid-19 survey in Cape Town. Research experience and feedback”
Dostin Lakika: “The impact of Covid-19 on foreigners’ menial jobs”.