Original Research

Daily news and daily bread: Precarious employment in the newspaper distribution sector in Durban, South Africa

Chibuikem C. Nnaeme
Acta Commercii | Vol 17, No 1 | a399 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v17i1.399 | © 2017 Chibuikem C. Nnaeme | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2016 | Published: 28 February 2017

About the author(s)

Chibuikem C. Nnaeme, Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: The outsourcing of newspaper distribution seems to be one of the sources of precarious employment for newspaper distribution contractors and their employees.
Research Purpose: In an attempt to contribute to the debate on outsourcing, this paper explored the effects of outsourcing newspaper distribution on the labour market experiences of newspaper distribution contractors and their employees in Durban.
Motivation for the study: The labour market experiences of workers in precarious employment, especially those in the lower echelon of newspaper distribution, are rarely known.
Research Design, approach and method: The study is a qualitative research which sought to explore the experiences of newspaper distributors in Durban. In identifying the respondents non-probability sampling was used to identify information-rich respondents for interview sections. Also, the research used participant observation to deepen data from interviews.
Main Findings: The research finds that the respondents were exposed to precarious employment conditions irrespective of whether they were contracted or not, seemingly because of outsourcing of newspaper distribution in Durban.
Practical/Managerial Implications: The practical implication suggests that Basic Employment Act is not guiding how the respondents are being treated. Contribution/Value-Add: The paper specifically highlights the exploitation of newspaper distributors on the streets, as they are denied any form of employment benefits or employment security despite executing their job within severe working conditions.


outsourcing; newspaper distribution; Durban; precarious employment; work condition; employment security; and informal work


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