In search of appropriate media (mass media) for the informal sector in a post apartheid South Africa : the city of Durban's street vendors.
Cebekhulu, Nhlanhla Michael.
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The investigation to the appropriate mass media for the micro-enterprises (informal sector) is in line with the principle of economic development for post-apartheid South Africa envisaged by the Reconstruction and Development Programme. In many countries, such as Latin America, Japan, United States of America, small business sector is the backbone of the economy, providing jobs and means for large companies to out-source tasks. This also applies to South Africa, the micro-enterprise in this country ''fulfils a social and economic function which neither state owned corporations nor the foreign transnational corporations, can perform. Due to their knowledge of the clientele they are able to determine more precisely the real and basic needs of the society and thereby render people-oriented, as against a purely commercial service" (Mersham and Skinner 1992 :33). However, lack of access to appropriate, relevant and understandable information and advice is one of the most critical aspect which hinders development of small enterprises, particularly, micro-enterprises and survivalist and small start-up enterprises. Due to the past discrimination and lack of opportunities this problem is most serve among black entrepreneurs who are participating in this sector. In addition, the central problem that has an impact in the process of reaching the micro-enterprises is the fact that the nature of communication systems and their relevance for the micro-enterprise activities, seem to have more over-emphasis on the print media. Subsequently, over-emphasis on the print media concentrate efforts on more easily and receptive individuals and communities, ignoring the micro-enterprises that require the service, since the majority of the micro-enterprises are comprised of people who have been disadvantaged by an incomplete education. It becomes therefore, essential to investigate how micro-enterprises consume mass media and the central role it plays so that an appropriate mass medium to reach this sector could be identified. Since my perception is that there is no assurance that the formulated policies and strategies by the Department of Trade and Industry become known to the intended beneficiaries . Most importantly, the approach taken in this study, is the one which tries to understand the role of the mass media in national development but which is more specific to the micro-enterprises. The media are seen as educators or teachers of the micro-enterprises. The ideal is that mass media can be used to teach people skills of different kinds and, under some conditions, to influence the attitudes and behaviour of the micro-enterprises.
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