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Hot Spot! South Africa
- Neoliberalism and Resistance in South Africa
Ashwin Desai (Jan., 2003) Monthly Review 54.8
A Poverty and Inequality Report commissioned by the government in May 2000 reveals that 45 percent of self-employed workers earn less than the poverty line. Seventy-six percent of these are African. Franco Barchiesi makes the telling point that unemployment in itself is only partially accountable for working class poverty: '[T]he existence of huge areas of working class poverty in the South African society...indicate(s) an enduring, structural inability of waged employment to satisfy basic necessities for life and household reproduction.' Take the recent example, a group of sixty retrenched workers from the footwear industry in northern Kwa-ZuluNatal who reentered the workforce by working for an entrepreneur who pays them R1 for every shoe made. According to one of the workers, Lungile Ngubane, 'What you get paid depends on how many shoes you can make a day, but I would say on average I make R50 a week.'