Pamhidzai H. Bamu-Chipunza
Africa Coordinator, Law Programme
“More and more, we are seeing that the informal economy accounts for the overwhelming majority of people in the labour force. The informal has become the ‘new normal’. For as long as this is the case, we can’t continue to focus on the formal and advocate top-down solutions to poverty and joblessness. We need have to work from the bottom up to develop strategies to protect and empower workers in the informal economy. Law is a double-edged sword for workers in the informal economy. On the one hand, it can hamper their activities, and even punish them for engaging in informal work. On the other hand, well-crafted laws that are grounded in the realities can support and protect workers in the informal economy. Law is a tool that can help to make decent work a reality for informal economy workers.'"
labour law, international labour law, precarious employment relationships, informal economy, domestic work, labour migration
Pamhidzai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds an LLB, LLM (Labour Law) and a PhD (Labour Law) from the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a Researcher in the Institute of Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town, and the Social Law Project at the University of the Western Cape and has undertaken and published research on various labour issues in South Africa and Southern Africa. She recently completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University. Her post-doctoral project considered the Zimbabwean labour market, with a focus on the development and regulation of its informal economy. She has consulted for agencies such as the International Labour Organization and SADC Secretariat on a number of labour and human rights issues.
Pamhidzai was one of ten junior scholars selected to present a paper at the Harvard and Stanford Law Schools Junior Faculty Form held at Harvard Law School in October 2013. The paper analyzed the role and regulation of Zimbabwean informal cross-border traders and cross-border couriers. She was also a consultant to the ILO (Pretoria) on labour migration in SADC (2013-2014) whose work contributed to the development of the SADC Labour Migration Policy Framework, which was endorsed by SADC Labour Ministers in 2014. Pamhidzai was also a consultant to the ILO (Harare and Pretoria) on migrant domestic workers in the Zimbabwe-South Africa corridor in 2014 and to the SADC Secretariat (Gender Unit) on trafficking in persons in the SADC Region from 2014 to 2015. She has also served as a consultant to the ILO Geneva on non-standard employment in Africa in 2015.
Nothing about us without us: A case study of the dynamics of the informal workplace in Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre