Call for National Action 16 October, World Food Day End Hunger, Thirst, Pollution and Climate Harm

On Tuesday, 22 September, the 10th meeting of the National Food Crisis Forum (NFCF) was convened by the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign and the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Center (COPAC), a vibrant alliance partner of the SAFSC and which is currently coordinating its response to Covid-19.

During South Africa’s Covid-19 hard lock down, hunger jumped from 14 million to about 30 million people. Many households have struggled to put food on the table. In the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces the ongoing drought further exacerbated the hunger crisis and also placed many communities in extremely difficult circumstances. Water has been unavailable to meet basic needs and to keep hygienic in the context of Covid-19. We continue to struggle alongside and in solidarity with 125 communities wanting their water needs met.

Household food stress was also confirmed by numerous studies including the main findings of the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey and our own mapping of food relief efforts in the country. The Level 1 ‘soft lock down’ has not ended the hunger crisis. Unemployment has skyrocketed and it is incorrect to assume merely opening up the economy will address this crisis. 

The government did not do enough to cushion South African society, including through rapidly implementing a substantive basic income grant (#UBIGNOW). Moreover, the government came short in many respects including not heeding the call from us for a nationally coordinated response to address the hunger crisis utilising the Disaster Management Act. Mobilising civil society to partner with government would have ensured we have a more effective response to the hunger crisis.

With input received from the Pietermaritzburg Dignity and Justice Group, it also clear that commercial farmers and supermarkets have made super profits during Covid-19. Food prices they have tracked show a serious squeeze on poor households. We support their call for a solidarity tax on food profiteers and will share their research widely as soon as it is released. We will also continue to champion an alternative food system based on food sovereignty, agro-ecology, defending the commons and solidarity economy principles that feed our communities, villages, towns and cities. Such a food system is central to the Climate Justice Charter (available here: https://www.safsc.org.za/climate-justice-charter/)

To all South African’s we say let’s stand together on 16 October, World Food Day, to demand an end to hunger, thirst, pollution and climate harm. Our common future is at stake. Endorse the Climate Justice Charter that emerged from six years of campaigning, during South Africa’s worst drought, and which we are taking to parliament on 16 October to demand it be adopted as per section 234 of the South African constitution. Sign the petition here: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/together-we-can-help-ensure-parliament-brings-an-end-to-water-problems-hunger-and-pollution

For more information, contact:

Dr. Vishwas Satgar, Board Chairperson COPAC and SAFSC activist, 082 775 3420

Jane Cherry, Executive Manager, COPAC and SAFSC activist, 084 236 3649

Courtney Morgan, COPAC and SAFSC activist, 083 483 9119

Awande Buthelezi, COPAC and SAFSC activist, 079 613 8191

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