Sink or swim for gig workers holding it down on their own

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Digital services are some of the key platforms that drive the gig economy.
Digital services are some of the key platforms that drive the gig economy.
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Without a change of mindset among those in power, South Africa may not fully reap the benefits of the digital economy that has birthed the growing trend of gig work, according to the chairperson of Productivity SA, Mthunzi Mdwaba.

Mdwaba, a former vice president of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) of the ILO, a UN agency dealing with social justice and setting international labour standards, says the lack of legislative regulation can lead to exploitation and is hampering the potential to change the future of work for the better.

Tech-based services - including e-hailing platforms, food deliveries, online tutoring and fitness coaching - have gained traction among the country's unemployed and those looking to earn additional income as gig workers. In theory, this should support some jobs growth in an economy still battered by stubbornly high jobless numbers. But while the emergence of Covid-19 has been supportive to some online service providers due to a shift in work patterns - including the ability to work from home - others have been left reeling.

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