More South Africans are turning to self-employment

More South Africans were working for themselves with one in six self-employed, economist Mike Schussler said on Wednesday.

More South Africans were working for themselves with one in six self-employed, economist Mike Schussler said on Wednesday.

In 2002 one in seven people was an entrepreneur. "That's a huge increase. Partly it's survival; partly it's entrepreneurship. I think more and more people realise that they are not going to get rich working for someone else," he said when presenting his fifth South African Unemployment Report.

While there were about 2.1million businesses in South Africa, only 600000 were in the formal sector. Those people who were self-employed in the informal sector were "just scraping a living", commented Schussler.

"The biggest challenge is how to bring people from the informal into the formal sector, so that they can not only pay tax but also be on a more even footing, get access to finance and get their products out there," he said.

He called for government to reduce red tape, which makes it time-consuming and expensive for businesses to register.

In line with his complaint, the number of clerical workers have increased between 2001 and 2006, along with managers and legislators. The number of workers in areas of the economy in need, like industries that require plant and machinery workers, have declined.

In the last four years the construction sector has seen the biggest growth in employment, while mining has seen a decline of 30 percent.

He said that sector education and training authorities needed to spend more money on specialised skills than on general education.

Currently about 3000 artisans are being trained a year when between 20000 and 50000 are needed. - Sapa

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