The report shows how South Africa’s spatially unjust land use systems impact on (informal) micro-enterprises in the township context. The report illustrates the ways in which land use management systems have intentionally and unintentionally reinforced Apartheid era town planning and spatial injustices. For township micro-entrepreneurs, the land related processes which people have to navigate to obtain regulatory compliance resembles a Kafkaesque world: one in which the rules are nightmarishly complex, incomprehensible and illogical. Partly as a result of these challenges, the great majority of township informal micro-enterprises do not comply with land management system requirements and gain few to no benefits in doing so. Township micro-entrepreneurs have no alternative to trading illegally. We refer to this process as ‘enforced informalisation’.
Based on detailed evidence, the report amplifies the argument that South Africa requires a land use system that can more effectively operationalize the principles of spatial justice and spatial resilience, whilst making allowance for economic marginalisation. Land systems need to recognise the fluidity of urban conditions and multiple uses of land for business, social, cultural and residential purposes. The report recommends specific ways in which legislation need to be refined, including the need for urban land reform in spatial development frameworks. We recommend that municipalities should simplify land use systems and accommodate mixed land use with greater tolerance for economic activities. Finally we call on national government to develop a policy framework on micro-enterprise formalisation, specifying land use requirements and specific additional criteria for certain classes of enterprises.
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