The first phase of the township development strategy for Uitenhage, in partnership with the Volkswagen BBBEE Trust, kicked off in the last quarter of 2018. Between October and November, the SLF team spent four weeks conducting field research in a number of residential areas surrounding Uitenhage, approximately 35 kilometres from Port Elizabeth. The areas that we surveyed were KwaNobuhle, Rosedale and Langa. The fieldwork, which consisted of approximately 2000 interviews, enabled the team to gain insight into the workings of the informal businesses, microenterprises and livelihood strategies in these areas. The end goal of the project is to understand the nature and scope of businesses in the two sites. The bigger picture is to come up with a plan, which will help to support the development of these small businesses.
In the field, the SLF team was accompanied by field researchers from the above-mentioned communities who were trained by the team prior to entering the field. Each researcher was equipped with a tablet device on which the interviewee’s answers were captured. Garmin devices were also used in order to accurately map the positioning of each small business. Some of the team members worked on foot, while others utilized the SLF bikes. On return to Cape Town, the SLF team analysed the data from the field and are currently in the process of completing a report which was recently presented to VW by Andrew Charman.