Migrants and host communities in South Africa’s informal urban settlements often share harsh living conditions. Employment is scarce, and the communities have frustrations related to service delivery. The situation often leads to friction between the communities, which has escalated violently. There are indications that migrants, although often perceived to be part of the problem, do contribute to economic development and job creation in informal urban settlements. However, research on this topic is not extensive enough to inform government policy development and implementation.
The overall objective of the study was to examine the socioeconomic contributions of international migrants in South Africa, with a specific focus on the city of Johannesburg. It covered in particular four inner-city areas (namely Berea, Hillbrow, Mayfair and Yeoville) and four informal settlements (namely Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Orange Farm and Zandspruit). Using a mixed methods approach, the study aimed at providing empirical evidence for municipal and national governments to develop policies that promote socioeconomic development, social cohesion and public–private sector investment in informal urban settlements.
In five chapters, the report provides a contextual background and a review of literature on socioeconomic contributions of migrants, highlighting the gaps; the study methodology; findings; and conclusion and recommendations.
The study found that migrant informal business contributes to the GDP, job creation, value chains and social cohesion.