JOURNAL OF UWC FACULTY OF LAW | ISSN 2077-4907 | Short URL www.ldd.org.za

From precarity to pandemic: How the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty, unemployment, and inequality in South Africa, pp 395-424

Volume: Volume 26 - 2022

Article type: Refereed article

Author/s: William Manga Mokofe

The pre-Covid-19 world of work was rife with inequalities and difficulties, with more than 40 per cent of working-age South Africans unemployed. The majority of those in employment were barely able to eke out a living – between 20 per cent to 30 per cent were working in the informal economy, mostly without labour rights and social protection and earning low incomes that trapped them in poverty. The precarious nature of the South African labour market before the Covid-19 pandemic was characterised by casualisation, informalisation, and externalisation of work. This resulted in the reduction of the number of workers employed for definite periods and rising levels of precarious workers. This article investigates the precarious nature of work and the various work paradigms present in the South African labour market before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. New challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and new forms of work in the South African labour market are also considered, together with measures taken to address precarity.

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