Progressive Rhetoric, Ambiguous Policy Pathways: Street Trading in Inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa

Local Economy

Christian M Rogerson

As an economic manifestation of informality the activity of street trading is widespread across many countries of the global South. In particular, cities of sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by the growth of informality. In South Africa the activity of street trading is one of the most significant and yet most problematic policy concerns that must be addressed by local governments. The objective is to unravel and chart the ambiguous and changing policy pathways that have impacted upon street traders in inner-city Johannesburg with a focus mainly upon the period post-2000. It is argued that a disconnect occurs between the rhetoric of progressive development policy frameworks and often of repressive restrictive implementation practices. In addition, it is shown that there is no necessary alignment of local urban policy with national policies towards the informal economy. The analysis represents a contribution towards international policy debates and scholarship about street trading, local economic development and the informal economy in cities of the global South.


Featured City: Johannesburg, South Africa

Featured Country: South Africa

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