The annual ACC NOTRUC Seminar Series kicks off with its first seminar by Andrew Charman on Post-Apartheid Spatial Inequality: Obstacles of Land in Township Micro-Enterprise Formalisation at 15:30 in Studio 1, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town.
The presentation addresses the topic of micro-enterprise formalisation from a land perspective, considering the various ways in which land shortage, tenure insecurity, land use management and land-related business regulations hinder the process of formalisation. The argument I advance will consider specific case-studies from the settlement of Ivory Park, Johannesburg. The cases illustrates how informality (of land systems and business regulatory systems) presents both opportunities and constraints to economic growth. In making the case for formalisation, I will argue that the land-related processes which people have to navigate to obtain business compliance resembles a Kafkaesque work: one in which the rules of nightmarishly complex, incomprehensible and illogical. Partially as a result of these challenges, the great majority of township informal micro-enterprises do not comply with land management systems requirements and gain few or no benefits.
From the perspective of micro-entrepreneurs, the research contents that the objectives of spatial justice and spatial resilience have little advanced since 1994. I will argue that this outcome can be attributed to the combination of inappropriate policy framing, non-supportive legislation (especially at municipal level), the absence of political will to foster township economic growth and the persistence of apartheid era concerns with maintaining control to prevent ‘unruly’ social and economic activities.
MORE ON ANDREW CHARMAN
Andrew Charman is a Director of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation. He trained as a sociologist and development economist, studying at the University of Cape Town and Cambridge University. Andrew has worked across the Southern African region on addressing development challenges in a broad range of contexts, both rural and urban. His current work focuses on influencing policy towards micro-enterprises and promoting development interventions to foster growth in the township economy.
As a social science researcher seeking to better understand development constraints within the township economy, I have used a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including: methods to enhance stakeholder participation (participatory visual methods and action research); social-spatial methods to document specific business environments in their enterprise, social and spatial dimensions; area based enterprise surveys to record and map the spatial dynamics of micro-enterprise activities; and qualitative in-depth interviews to comprehend the challenges that confront livelihood activities.