Informal regulations of foreign national-owned spaza shops in townships

The aim of this research paper is to highlight the issues relating to informal regulation arrangements in some South African Townships which targets spaza shops operated by people from other countries commonly referred to as “foreign nationals”. It is an attempt to understand why the spaza shop owners and related stakeholders in some South African townships have to resort to and navigate through- informal regulation arrangements with regards to the opening of the new shops. In this regard, selected areas of Dunoon, Lwandle, Masiphumelele, Motherwell, Walmer and Zwelihle are considered. While a similar study has been conducted in recent years in some of these areas, in the Western Cape in particular, those studies only focused on the spaza shops owned by Somali nationals. Instead, this paper focusses on the spaza shops that are owned predominantly by people of Somali, Ethiopian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin or descent. It takes into the account that the regulation of spaza shops in these areas is complex and their dynamics is poorly understood.


Azwi completed his MA degree in Sociology in 2010 at University of Cape Town, examining the geography of economic sectors in relation to spatial inequalities in Cape Town, and he is currently working as a researcher for Safety and Violence Initiative. Over the years, Azwi has conducted fieldwork for various projects with an aim of understanding violence and to promote safety in some communities. He recently conducted a fieldwork which examines collective violence and issues related to xenophobic attacks in various selected townships with an aim of promoting social cohesion.  He also conducted a research which explores the phenomenon of political assassination in KwaZulu-Natal and taxi industry violence in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.


Tue, 07 May 2019 -
12:50 to 14:00



CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus

Contact Information: 

Lameez Mota