Informal sector sucks them in, cheaply
It is estimated that the average monthly income is no more than R500, or about R16 a day
AS THE formal economy fails to create the jobs to absorb South Africa's increasing number of work-seekers, more and more people are finding both temporary and permanent income in the informal sector of the economy.
Figures contained in the 1995 Central Statistical Service's Household Survey estimate the size of the informal sector at R32-billion a year - about 7% of the country's total economy.
With an unemployment rate of 30% (4,2-million - the majority of whom are black) and little evidence of new jobs in the formal economy, many people are entering the informal sector.
According to the CSS Household Survey, at least 1,74-million workers are employed in this sector. Of the 1,74-million, about 1,3-million work for themselves and the remaining 413 000 are in turn given work by employers in the informal sector.
Of the 1,3-million who work for their own account, 1,2-million are employers and self-employed, 129 000 are employed full-time in the formal sector, but also involved in the informal sector, and 10 000 people are involved in the informal sector, but looking for work.
Income generated from this sector is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the lives of black informal workers in particular - it is estimated that the average monthly income is no more than R500, or about R16 a day.
The idea of a mother of three selling loose cigarettes and sweets and earning an income that makes a difference to her life strains credulity.
Informally employed whites on the other hand tend to work in more structured businesses like flea markets.
The survey shows that the 1,74-million workers in the sector provided goods and services worth about R2,7-billion a month or R32-billion a year.
Blacks produce 55% (R1,5-billion) of this figure, while whites account for R935-million, coloureds for R192-million and Asians for R114-million.
Sectorally, wholesale, retail and catering services, and accommodation services are the largest sub-sectors in the informal sector, contributing at least R1,2-billion monthly or R12,4-billion annually. The next biggest contributor is the community, social and personal services sector, with R437-million, followed by transport, storage and communications, with R337-million.