An investigation into the barriers to employment for unskilled workers in Site C, Khayelitsha and Du Noon, Milnerton : does spatial mismatch theory apply?

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Due to past South African apartheid policies and new development trends, the spatial organisation of Cape Town is dispersed and decentralised. Many disadvantaged communities, including Khayelitsha, lie on the peripheral part of the city in the south east sector, distant from job opportunities. The rate of unemployment in these peripheral areas is high. One explanation suggested in the literature for the high unemployment rate in the peripheral areas of Cape Town is the Spatial Mismatch Theory. This theory argues that the spatial organisation of cities can drive unemployment because of the negative impact of the disconnection between places of work and places ofresidence (Rospabe and Selod, 2003). This thesis investigates whether or not the spatial mismatch theory is applicable to the cases of Khayelitsha and Du Noon in Cape Town. This research comparatively explores these case studies because of their similar skill set (unskilled), the high rate of unemployment, and the geographic location of each case relative to the job opportunities. This research adds to the literature by demonstrating under which conditions this spatial mismatch is more or less of a constraint. This thesis uses a qualitative research design using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. A total of 18 respondents were interviewed, nine from each case site. The findings show that the spatial disconnection between Site C and job opportunities often resulted in long and costly commutes to work for many Site C residents, especially to the new developments. Du Noon residents did not experience a spatial mismatch when working in the northern suburbs. However, because Du Noon's transport system is undeveloped, it often made access to Cape Town's newly developed areas difficult.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 53-56).