Challenges and Survival Strategies of Vulnerable Groups Under covid-19 Induced Lockdown: The Case of Durban Waste Pickers

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Tigere Paidamoyo Muringa

Abstract

Despite the notion that waste pickers are amongst the economically excluded groups in urban South Africa, little is known about their lockdown experience. This study explores the survival strategies of waste pickers in Durban during the COVID-19 induced level 5 lockdown. It employs a case study to illuminate the challenges and various survival strategies adopted by the waste pickers in response to harsh living conditions imposed by the lockdown measures. Two empirical questions are asked in this study- what are the challenges faced by the waste pickers? and what were the surviving strategies employed by waste pickers?  Data for this study were collected using semi-structured interviews with pickers. Using a convenience sampling technique, n=15 waste pickers from the South Beach area were interviewed. The study revealed that the pickers lost income and their assets. As a means of survival, the pickers resorted to drugs, crime, and moved to shelters.

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