Meet the slashers: Sagging economy driving people to work several jobs

19 July 2017 - 05:09 By MATTHEW SAVIDES, NASHIRA DAVIDS, SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER and Kgaugelo Masweneng
Morgan-Lee, Alexander, Genevieve Stander and Madeleine.
Morgan-Lee, Alexander, Genevieve Stander and Madeleine.
Image: Krystal Temlett

Genevieve Stander is a "slasher", and proud of it.

A slasher is not a character out of a horror movie. It's a term that refers to people who work more than one job in order to battle the economic quagmire.

In 31-year-old Stander's case, she's a procurement officer/waitress/bar tender/events manager.

And she's not alone.

MULTIPLE JOBS

The latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor - which surveyed about 1000 urban South Africans - found rising living costs and an ailing economy are driving more South Africans to work multiple jobs.

This was to support their lifestyles, save for a rainy day or pay off debt.

"I have a full-time, Monday to Friday job as a procurement officer," the mother-of-three told The Times.

"I am finishing up at month- end to start as an ops controller because it's a higher salary and is closer to home. I also work in the evenings and weekends as a waitress, bartender and events manager. I also do a monthly flea market gig selling bubbles and am registered with a car branding company to promote different products with decals all over my car. So that's four jobs."

It leaves her exhausted, she said, but circumstances - including her husband losing his job and having to take a lower-paying position - meant she had to push herself to the limit.

"Some days we barely scrape enough money together for bread and milk. With the constant price increases . it's become more difficult to survive, let alone live.

THE BREAKDOWN

The Old Mutual study found:
● 37% of 943 working respondents admitted to
being slashers;
● 13% stated they had an additional job that was similar to their everyday jobs;
● 24% did something totally
different

"Some weeks I work seven days and see my kids three hours a week. It's soul-crushing. I feel like a failure so often, but I want to use this experience to teach my children the value of hard work. I am not a failure because I'm working four jobs. I would be a failure if I gave up," she said.

Bebsy Mahlangu, a domestic worker in Pretoria, works for four families five days a week.The 54-year-old also crochets hats and scarves to earn extra income.

"Life is expensive," she said.

"I work at different houses on different days, then crochet on my way home in the bus or on Saturdays," she said.

Duncan Barker, an independent financial adviser, said people were taking second jobs as a necessity.

"You cannot simply rely on one source of income. Besides being a financial adviser, I run a recycling company for extra income. Although it may sound obvious, one needs to weigh one's options and take risks in order to be financially secure.

"We are consumers and want what we want now so we must be prepared to work even harder to afford our lifestyles," said Barker.

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