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A neo-apartheid city? Labour market inequalities and residential segregation in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Jean-Paul Solomon
Jean-Paul Solomon

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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South Africa’s cities make for an interesting focus when studying urban inequalities and segregation. Not only is the country among the most unequal countries (based on the Gini index calculations), but the Apartheid-era of the 20th century also created a severely segregated racial hierarchy through wide-reaching legislation. Although that and its legislation was dismantled in the final decade of the last century, the impact of those years is still evident across the country, not least of which on its cities. Cape Town is known as a beautiful city, as well as a tourist hotspot, however, it has also been referred to as the most segregated city in this already unequal and segregated country. This study focuses on the demographic and labour market changes, both in terms of the occupational distribution, as well as the racial composition of the most prominent and fastest growing occupational groups. What is apparent is that Cape Town has remained an unequal and segregated city, with levels of racial segregation significantly higher that socioeconomic segregation (even when accounting for occupational class differences). Additionally, although previously disadvantaged groups (e.g. Black Africans and Coloureds) have made gains in more prominent occupations, they continue to be under-represented among high-income earners and comprise the largest proportion of the unemployed in the city.