Economic and social interactions of immigrants with the local population : a case of Zimbabweans working in Durban CBD.
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The study on the economic and social interactions of immigrants with the local population: A Case of Zimbabweans working in Durban CBD was conducted in Durban Central Business District under the EThekwini Municipality. The objective for this study sought to achieve objectives pertaining the types of jobs/occupations which Zimbabwean immigrants are doing in Durban, investigating the economic and social networks which Zimbabwean immigrants create with locals to help navigate the economy of Durban, finding out challenges Zimbabwean immigrants are facing in Durban and to find out the perceptions of the Durban community towards immigrants’ contribution to the economy. The study applied a cross-sectional research design in which it made use of the qualitative methodology. A sample size of 40 respondents, of which 20 were Zimbabweans and the other 20 were local South Africans working with Zimbabwean Immigrants aged between 20-60 years were considered. Snowball sampling and Judgmental sampling methods were employed. This study made use of an in-depth interview as well observations as research techniques. Data collected were analysed using thematic analysis and NVIVO software further helped form categories of responses. Findings of the study indicate that jobs/occupations which Zimbabwean immigrants are doing in Durban cover a wide spectrum and include Caregiving, Driving, Graphic Designing, Hairdressing, Lecturing, Pastoring, Project Management, Security work, Teaching, Waiters, Bartending and Vending. Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who are in Durban most of them are in the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) sector. Business, work and religious connections are main connections Zimbabwean immigrants have with locals in Durban and intermarriages also has further strengthened connections socially. Networks which immigrants create with locals determine the extent which immigrants integrate themselves with both fellow immigrants and locals in doing business. Social networks and the use of cell phone, therefore, serves as an anchor for immigrants to move from one place to another. Social networks are also used as a referral system of where to find jobs and where to buy cheap stuff. Challenges immigrants are facing in Durban includes discrimination, financial problems characterized by limited access to financial aid, social violence (xenophobia), language problems as well as failing to walk freely in town and also difficulty in finding employment. The coming of immigrants into Durban is considered as both good and bad by locals. Competition for jobs, competition for customers in business, service delivery and immigrants accepting less payment for high paying jobs are the perceived main sources of conflict between immigrants and locals. The study recommends that, the government through its departments should try to value diversity. This is done by enlightening its citizens on embracing foreigners and different cultures. This enables less discrimination against immigrants and also can contribute to the reduction of attacks on immigrants. Since competition for jobs and service delivery are the main sources of conflict between immigrants and locals. The researcher recommends there is a need for the government to be stricter with organisations which first employ foreigners in place of locals, taking advantages of the vulnerability of foreigners.