The retail sector growth, expansion, employment and income inequality: a case study of Shoprite and Pick 'n Pay in South Africa and Namibia

SOURCE: Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.J.Mathekga, L.Maciko
DEPARTMENT: Center for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CESTII)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10596
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/12863

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The South African and Namibian economy is liberalised, and there is a movement of big companies from outside Africa to South Africa and Namibia. Some South African firms are operating in Namibia. Shoprite and Pick n Pay have grown and expanded in South Africa and other parts of Africa. These companies have contributed to job creation in South Africa and Namibia. However, most of the jobs created are sub-standard employment with little benefits and low wages. This paper argues that sub-standard employment created by Shoprite and Pick n Pay regenerates and deepens cheap labour, income inequality and labour exploitation. The paper aims to provide a picture of the current state of income inequality at Shoprite and Pick n Pay, and argues that sub-standard employment is the main driver of this situation in South Africa and Namibia. The paper uses the secondary and current data to examine and highlight the income inequalities at Pick n Pay and Shoprite. The results show that sub-standard employment by Pick n Pay and Shoprite regenerates cheap labour systems, income inequality, and exploitation. The paper also recommends that there is a need to identify and address the employment discrepancies, and then construct a different kind of workplace solidarity and legislative framework which takes seriously the changes taking place in retail sectors. Such a change calls for a more effective regulatory framework to overcome insecurities experienced by retail workers as a result of different employment contracts and income inequalities.