African immigrants in Durban : a case study of foreign street traders' contribution to the city.
Sidzatane, Ndumiso Justice.
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This dissertation explores the livelihood activities of Durban's African migrant street traders. The study also seeks to gain insight into the challenges that confront them as well as the perceptions that local street traders have of them. The researcher argues that migrant street traders make a contribution towards the economic development of the city. Migrant street traders are attracted to Durban because of the economic opportunities that the city offers as well as the fact that it has a lower crime rate than cities such as Johannesburg. The concept of livelihood strategy was used to develop the theoretical framework that guides the research. The study makes use of the qualitative research method. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with migrant and local street traders, who were a mixture of male and female. Of the fifteen interviewees, ten were migrant traders (five females and five males) and five were local street traders (three females and two males). The research was conducted in the Central Business District (CBD) in the vicinity of the Workshop Shopping Centre. The findings of the study suggest that migrants make an economic contribution (albeit not a substantial one) to the development of the city. Some of the local street traders recognise this contribution while others do not. Migrant street traders encounter difficulties in accessing the finance and capital necessary to start their entrepreneurial businesses. The other major problems experienced by the migrant traders in the city are to do with crime, the metropolitan police, local government officials, securing of a suitable accommodation, and accessing trading sites, education and healthcare. The research concludes by recommending that the business-training sessions that are arranged by the municipality of local street traders be open to migrant street traders as well. Local communities should also be educated about the positive role of the migrants in the city.