n Journal of Public Administration - Economic development through the local informal economy in sustaining livelihoods : the case of the rural coastal town of Mtubatuba

Volume 54 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


In South Africa, Local Economic Development (LED) has not fully produced the desired results because of the inability of local municipalities to drive LED, even with the establishment of economic development agencies, especially in small rural towns. The development of small rural towns through the informal economy is also key to the implementation of the goals of South Africa's developmental local government agenda. This proposition was tested using the case of Mtubatuba, a small rural town on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It explores the contribution of informal trading to the livelihoods of traders, and explores the impact of informal trade on employment of traders operating in the informal economy of Mtubatuba Municipality on KZN's North Coast. Using a mixed-methods design, simple random and purposive sampling was used; data was collected using survey questionnaires from informal traders in the area. Interviews were held with municipal officials. The findings show that a majority of informal traders were of working age; they received an income below the minimum wage, were single or widowed, South African, unskilled; and held primary and secondary education. Traders used the little money they make to sustain themselves, thereby releasing the pressure on the formal economy. This applied specifically to those seeking employment to better their lives, while travelling long distances to sustain their livelihoods, and collectively, developing their areas. The study on which this article is based contributes to the body of knowledge by confirming that informal trading has a significant potential for positively impacting economic development of small towns, hence uplifting local communities.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error