1887

n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Kwesbare groepe in die informele ekonomie : ʼn Gevallestudie van motorwagte in Johannesburg se Wesrand - research

Volume 59 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0041-4751
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Abstract

Vulnerable groups in the informal economy: A case study among car guards in Johannesburg’s West Rand South Africa’s high levels of car-related crime and spiralling unemployment have resulted in the development of a distinctive South African practice where people are looking after vehicles in shopping malls’ parking sites in exchange for a fee during the last 25 years. People who have lost their work or who never had a formal job in the past could work as a car guard in South Africa. Here, they enjoy little if any of the protection that the labour dispensation provides formal workers. They are therefore indeed an extremely vulnerable group in the informal sector. This article is based on a survey among 110 car guards in Roodepoort and Crown Mines in 2017 with the aim to investigate the socio-economic vulnerability of car guards. Car guards are both socially and economically vulnerable. Besides earning a low income, they are also required to pay a considerable portion of their income to shopping centres or car guard agencies. The average car guard in the survey earns between R7.31 and R21.94 per hour. The average fee per hour was calculated at R12.60 at the time of the survey. The current minimum hourly wage in South Africa is R20. This implies that the average car guard earns less per hour than the official minimum wage in the country. If one keeps in mind that these are gross amounts (the car guards must often pay a daily fee to a car guard organisation from this income), then the economic vulnerability of car guards is obvious. Their economic situation is therefore extremely vulnerable. This vulnerability is worsened by the uncertainty with regard to future income. Their working conditions expose them to various health risks as they are prone to fluctuating weather conditions, such as severe heat and cold, on a daily basis. If they do not work (because of, for example, illness), they earn no income. The researchers identified several possible limitations during the research. In some instances, the language proficiency of the foreign born car guards was indeed a challenge. In these cases, fellow car guards were able to act as interpreters in order to complete the interview. We realise that the sample cannot be used to generalise conclusions for the whole of South Africa. However, the results broadly corroborate the results of surveys in Pretoria (Steyn 2018) and Durban (Foster & Chasomeris 2017). It should be clear that car guards, as is the case with other groupings in the informal economy (e.g. day labourers and waste pickers), experience vulnerability on both social and economic levels.

Suid-Afrika se hoë vlakke van motorverwante misdaad en hoë werkloosheid het oor die laaste 25 jaar aanleiding gegee tot die ontwikkeling van ʼn kenmerkende Suid-Afrikaanse praktyk waar mense teen ʼn fooitjie na voertuie by winkelsentrums se parkeerterreine omsien. Mense wat óf hul werk verloor het óf nie ander werk ooit kon kry nie, werk as motorwagte in Suid- Afrika. Hier geniet hulle bitter min, indien enige, van die beskerming wat die arbeidsbedeling aan formele werkers bied. Hulle is dus inderdaad ʼn uiters kwesbare groep in die informele sektor. Hierdie artikel is gegrond op ʼn opname onder 110 motorwagte in Roodepoort en Crown Mines in 2017 met die doel om die sosio-ekonomiese kwesbaarheid van motorwagte te ondersoek. Motorwagte is kwesbaar op beide sosiale- en ekonomiese vlakke. Motorwagte verdien ʼn lae inkomste en moet terselfdertyd ʼn aansienlike gedeelte van hul inkomste aan inkopiesentrums of motorwag-agentskappe betaal. Die gemiddelde motorwag in die opname verdien tussen R7.31 en R21.94 per uur. Die gemiddelde fooi per uur is bereken as R12.60 ten tye van die opname. Die huidige minimum loon per uur in Suid-Afrika is R20. Dit beteken dat die gemiddelde motorwag gemiddeld minder per uur verdien as die wettige minimum loon in die land. As daar in gedagte gehou word dat die bogenoemde syfers boonop bruto bedrae verteenwoordig (die motorwagte moet nog uit hierdie inkomste hul daaglikse fooi aan die motorwagorganisasie of winkelsentrum betaal), is die ekonomiese kwesbaarheid van motorwagte baie duidelik. Hierdie kwesbaarheid word vererger deur die onsekerheid ten opsigte van toekomstige inkomste. Hul werkomstandighede stel hulle bloot aan verskeie gesondheidsrisiko’s en hulle is daagliks uitgelewer aan die elemente soos erge hitte en koue. As hulle nie werk nie (as gevolg van byvoorbeeld siekte), verdien hulle geen inkomste nie. Die rol van motorwagagentskappe en die groeiende aantal immigrante in die bedryf is belangrike areas vir toekomstige navorsing.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-19f54cc883
2019-12-12
2020-05-28

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