Recent research on foreign spaza shopkeepers in SA shows how intensely the market is misunderstood — not just by people on the street, but by academics studying the topic. This is illustrated by Prof Andries du Toit’s article (Informal workers are sometimes tantamount to bonded labour (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2020-02-29-informal-workers-are-sometimes-tantamount-to-bonded-labour/), February 29).

Based on research carried out by the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF), Du Toit’s article is underscored by poor reasoning and scarce data, and casts foreign retailers in a damning light. It comprises a missed opportunity to understand alternative modes of work and economic upliftment in SA’s townships...

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