Challenging inequalities through policy relevant academic research.


April 2020

Dear friends,

It has been almost two months since SALDRU started with our social distancing way of working. In some ways in feels like it’s been much much longer, and yet, in others, the time seems to be flying by. As everyone realises, the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, but has brought with it an economic crisis as well. There is a lot of uncertainty about how long this pandemic will continue for, as well as about the length and severity of the ensuing economic disruption that is surely going to affect us. While no one can claim to have clear and precise answers to these issues, it is quite wonderful to see so many Saldrupians eager to make a difference in the best way that we possibly can – by offering our skills and expertise as researchers and making these available to a very broad range of constituencies. We briefly summarize several new COVID-19 related projects that Saldrupians have been involved with in this newsletter.

Our lead article features preliminary findings from a long-running impact evaluation project on educational outcomes amongst school-aged children. Cally Ardington has led a SALDRU team to evaluate some of the work done by the Funda Wande NGO. Their project, which is based in the Eastern Cape, aims to improve reading skills amongst young learners. These interventions are potentially extremely valuable, and SALDRU is happy to contribute our skills to generate high quality evidence about the efficacy of such interventions.

In other news, we are delighted to announce that our flagship project on a Basic Package of Support for youth has received further funding. This renewed funding is partly due to the recognition of the excellent work that Ariane de Lannoy and her team have been doing for over a year now. We also warmly welcome two new members to the SALDRU family. Rejoice Mabhena recently joined ACEIR as a Postdoctoral Fellow, and Gabriel Espi-Sanchis joined the SALDRU team as a research officer. We look forward to working with them in person in the near future.

Best wishes,

Murray Leibbrandt
Director, SALDRU
Vimal Ranchhod
Deputy Director, SALDRU

SALDRU evaluates promising program to improve reading for meaning

Image courtesy of Funda Wande.

Prof. Cally Ardington has led a SALDRU team to evaluate some of the work done by the Funda Wande NGO on educational interventions. Funda Wande was invited by the Eastern Cape Department of Education to pilot their in-service coaching model in primary schools in the province. The SALDRU researchers were charged with conducting an impact evaluation of the programme with the primary aim being to assess the causal impact of Funda Wande’s coaching on foundation phase learners’ ability to read with meaning. The secondary aims of the evaluation are to contribute to ongoing research on how to appropriately measure reading for meaning. The longitudinal data collected for the evaluation will also feed into and build on existing empirical research on African languages in South Africa, including the establishment of reading benchmarks. Read more.

COVID-19 related projects that Saldrupians are working on

Image: Miguel A on Pexels.

Several Saldrupians are actively working on COVID-19 related projects which currently include:

  • Grants and poverty relief
  • Essential workers, working from home and job loss vulnerability
  • Coronavirus economic ideas
  • The impact of lockdown on employment at the V&A Waterfront, a snap survey
  • Understanding youth well-being in a time of COVID-19
  • Spatial inequalities in student ability to learn on digital platforms
  • The behavioural science of COVID-19

Read more.

Basic Package of Support for Youth receives additional funding through the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion

Image: ar130405 on Pixabay.

Throughout 2019, the Basic Package of Support for Youth (BPS) team worked to complete the design and implementation plan of a comprehensive support package for young people in South Africa who are not in employment, education or training. Now, in 2020, with renewed support from the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion, located in the Government Technical Advisory Centre, the team enters the preparatory stage to roll out pilot sites in several parts of the country at the beginning of 2021. Read more.


Rejoice Mabhena joins ACEIR as a Postdoctoral Fellow

Rejoice Mabhena recently joined ACEIR as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She is currently working on the use of cohort based pseudo-panels in the analysis of poverty in South Africa. Rejoice has a PhD in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape. Her research interests include poverty, inequality, food security and labour market issues in South Africa.

Gabriel Espi-Sanchis joins SALDRU as a Research Officer

Gabriel Espi-Sanchis recently joined the SALDRU team as a Research Officer. He will be working on Precarious Work in Contemporary South Africa, seeking to understand casualised forms of work within the formal sector, and to situate these forms of work within the context of the broader South African labour market and history. 

Gabriel is an alumnus of the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked extensively in research at both institutions. His research interests cover labour economics, with a focus on precarious and informal workers and women's labour force participation, and health economics. His work has often incorporated older data to provide a historical context for current labour trends.


Urban inequality and protests in Ecuador and Chile

Mobility is a multifaceted concept with social, economic and political implications. This article reflects on the role of mobility and precarity in the emergence of protests in both Ecuador and Chile in 2019. The authors argue that the announced increases in transport and fuel costs in Chile and Ecuador unveiled the obstacles to mobility and the degree of existing inequalities. Whereas protests emerged as a response to the announcement of a reduction in fuel subsidies and the possible increases in the costs of transport, they reflect something deeper - related to the vulnerability of the livelihoods of segments of the population; this in spite that both Chile and Ecuador observe improvements in poverty and inequality indicators. Undertaking a more disaggregated analysis of the effects of reduction in fuel subsidies or increases in metro tickets, the authors find that mobility correlates with a pattern of structural marginalisation that perpetuates inequality, which is not necessarily visible to aggregate economic indicators. Access this SALDRU working paper here.

Citation: Palacio Ludeña, M., Díaz Pabón F., (2020). Urban inequality and protests in Ecuador and Chile. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper Number 260).

The labour market in South Africa, 2000-2017

This article is a non-technical and easily accessible summary of important developments in the South African economy. It focuses on the major areas of employment, wages, wage inequality and gender inequality in the labour market.  The article is part of an ongoing IZA World of labour project of availing current research on labour markets worldwide in a clear and accessible style and can be accessed here.

Citation: Mosomi, J., Wittenberg, M. The labour market in South Africa, 2000–2017. IZA World of Labour 2020: 475 doi: 10.15185/izawol.475

For more SALDRU working papers, journal article contributions and policy briefs, please visit OpenSALDRU.

SALDRU Seminars

Please note: In order to decrease risk and spread of the COVID-19, as well as aligning with the university's decision on minimising gatherings, all SALDRU seminars are cancelled until further notice.

For information about past and future seminars, click here. To subscribe to our seminar mailing list, click here.
Business Day, 3 April 2020
Covid-19 fallout measures are not enough, government told

Financial Times, 7 April 2020
South Africa’s army of informal workers face destitution (Financial Times subscription required)
Copyright © 2020 SALDRU, UCT, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp