Examining the livelihoods and subjective well-being of car guards in Durban's informal sector.
Foster, John Robert Wilfred.
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Car guarding remains a prominent South African informal employment option, at either public or private parking sites. This PhD by publication addressed two relevant objectives through four separate stand-alone articles. The first objective assessed car-guards’ livelihood in terms of their earnings, expenditures, and the challenges faced, and secondly explored the independent variables that affect their subjective well-being (SWB). These objectives were assessed at free to park sites in 2015, as well as free to park and ticketed parking sites in 2019. Furthermore, all articles used mixed methods research, and considered factors such as their demographic characteristics, income, and education. The first article used secondary data gathered from interviews with 30 car-guards at shopping-centres, hospitals, and beachfronts in 2015. The findings revealed that the average car guard worked a total of six days per week and an average of nine hours per day, and average income ranged from ZAR 4.64 to ZAR 30 per hour. The second paper interviewed 30 car-guards in 2019 at free to park sites, to examine their livelihood at the same sites (where possible) as the other articles. Furthermore, the findings from 2019 where compared with the 2015 findings from the first article. It was found that there was a considerable reduction in real income levels. The third article considered the socio-economic livelihood of 15 car-guards at ticketed pay to park sites, to the 30 car-guards at free to park sites (2019 interviews). Car guards at ticketed parking sites earn substantially less. The final article assessed the SWB of the total 45 car-guards interviewed in 2019 using the Short Form Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. At all parking sites, four variables were found to be statistically significant as possible determinants of SWB, namely age; age squared; level of education; and race. No statistically significant evidence was found that happiness is related solely to earnings. These studies contribute to a better understanding of car-guards’ socio-economic livelihoods and the informal sector. Recommendations include better regulation of car guards and car guarding agents, and further research regarding the uniqueness of the informal sector, and civil injustice of daily bay fees.