Growing informal economy poses new challenges

Reuben Mohapi from Targeted HR recently represented the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce and South African business in a workshop at Harare.

In an effort to promote the local economy, Reuben Mohapi from Targeted HR recently represented the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce and South African business in a workshop in Harare which looked at opportunities to extend social security within an informal economy.

The issue of social security for workers who are not involved in the private business sector is a challenge in the Ilembe region and country as a whole.

The workshop, held by the African Regional Labour Administration Centre, explored options for social protection that involved access to health care and income security, mostly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, disability, work injury, maternity or the death of the main income earner.

Mohapi said the four days he spent in Harare taught him much, which he felt could be beneficial to the chamber.

“Our current challenge in South Africa is unemployment which is currently sitting at 27.7 per cent, youth unemployment which is at 54 per cent, retrenchments in most sectors including the agricultural sector, discouraged work seekers and an economy that is not growing.”

The workshop was attended by business, government and labour representatives from nine countries, which included South Africa, Egypt, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

During the visit, the South African delegation also met with diplomatic representatives from South Africa in Zimbabwe.

‘Informal economy’ refers to all economic activities that operate outside the formal reach of the law.

“We cannot ignore the problem of the growing informal economy, but must rather seek opportunities and create initiatives to extend the benefits of social security protection, bluntly because it is a human right.”

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Erica Abrahams

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