Street trading as a livelihood strategy: a case study of immigrants in Durban.
Mdunge, Nhlakanipho Nkululeko Prince.
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Street trading is part of the informal economy. Many people have rendered the informal sector a useful economy for making money. Trading in the Central Districts Business has remained an effective method of making a living for many unemployed and destitute migrants in Durban. Several migrants are working as street traders due to the fact that it does not require any formal education and it is also open and easy to conduct business. Durban was the first city in South Africa to have successfully implemented a policy that recognizes and manages street trading. However, migrant street traders continue to face barriers that negatively affect their trading businesses. Using Durban as a case study, the study aims to investigate street trading as a livelihood strategy among immigrants. This study further provides reasons for street trading, assesses the livelihoods of migrant street traders, and also explores the barriers confronting migrant street traders. This study uses qualitative data from face to face in-depth interviews with both male and female migrant street traders, from different corners of Africa. For many migrant street traders, Durban was not their preferred city of trading, however, they arrived in this city and decided to be street traders. The research revealed that traders use many livelihood strategies to sustain street trading. The core livelihoods employed by traders involve saving profit generated from trading in the streets to cover daily living expenses, customer care, advertisements, and unity. Most migrant traders contribute towards public health and the safety of the city. This research found that street traders face a number of barriers when trying to make a livelihood on the street. There exists a great deal of competition for customers among migrant street traders located in the same vicinity of trading. The study further noted that criminals mingle with migrant street traders. Many traders remain subject to harassment by the metro officials, even if they have valid trading permits. Traders continue to carry businesses without appropriate trading shelters. The development of trading shelters is urgently needed from, the municipality and government officials.