The global gig economy has emerged as a vast secondary labour market over the past decade. It’s built a thriving app-based on-demand economy that has created countless new jobs in service roles such as ride-sharing and delivery. In emerging markets such as SA, it has brought tens of thousands of informal workers closer to the formal economy.

However, the challenge with the gig economy has always been that workers have lacked the security and benefits of full-time employment. Covid-19 has thrown this issue into stark relief: while the struggles facing SA’s gig workers are not new, the crisis has only worsened their financial instability — and in many cases, plunged them into hardship...

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