The South African Informal Sector: Creating Jobs, Reducing Poverty (HSRC Press) has just been released. Reseacher at ACC Caroline Skinner acted as consulting editor on the volume and also contributed two chapters. The first, written with Mike Rogan, outlines the size and structure of the South African informal sector using Quarterly Labour Force Survey Statistics. In the second, through the lens of dominant schools of thought, she reflects on the policy environment in the post-apartheid period, arguing that it has been characterised by repression, omission and ambiguity.
The book is a culmination of the work of the Informal Sector Employment Project (ISEP). ISEP bought together a multidisciplinary group of 20 researchers based at ten different universities, as well as NGO’s and Statistics SA. All of them worked on different aspects of the informal sector, resulting in this 500 page volume. It presents the most comprehensive overview of the nature of the South African informal sector since Preston-Whyte and Rogerson’s South Africa’s Informal Economy (1991). The book is aimed at policy makers, researchers and the engaged public. Since it also highlights knowledge gaps, an additional target audience, is post graduate students.
Informality is a cross cutting theme in much of the ACC’s work, with this volume, addressing a critical dimension of informal work. ISEP was a sub-project of the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth (REDI3x3), which was based at SALDRU, UCT and supported by the National Treasury.