Making sure no South African goes to bed hungry

Peppers donated by Forries Farm.

Peppers donated by Forries Farm.

Published Feb 24, 2024


As we observed the World Day of Social Justice on February 20, it's an opportune moment to reflect on the persistent challenge of food vulnerability in South Africa and the imperative for systemic change. In a nation rich with resources and enough food for all, the harsh reality is that millions still face hunger, with children bearing the brunt of this injustice.

While we at SA Harvest feed hungry people on a charitable basis – we have delivered 53 million nutritious meals since inception four years ago – we understand that, while charity feeding is essential at this time in South Africa, it does not put an end to hunger.

Ending hunger requires the integration of charity feeding and systemic intervention, which addresses the root causes of food insecurity. This approach is grounded in the constitutional rights enshrined in Sections 27 and 28 of the South African constitution, which affirm every South African's right to adequate food and nutrition, particularly our children. This is further echoed by Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) which calls for the global community to work together to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition.

However, the glaring disparity between constitutional mandate and lived reality in South Africa underscores the urgent need for transformative action. Despite constitutional promises, millions continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition, perpetuating cycles of poverty and inequality. It's time for our leaders to heed the call of justice and prioritise the well-being of all citizens.

Fresh fruit and vegetables for the needy, donated by OneFarm. Pictures: Supplied

In the integration of charity feeding and systemic solutions, the actions must be scalable and evidence-based - a holistic approach that empowers communities and fosters long-term resilience. Our initiatives, such as the establishment of a branch in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, exemplify this commitment. By providing employment opportunities and training in agri-business to unemployed youth, we not only address immediate hunger but also cultivate sustainable pathways out of poverty.

Moreover, we recognise the power of advocacy in effecting meaningful and sustainable change. SA Harvest has assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts - lawyers, researchers, economists - to articulate a compelling way forward for legislative reforms that prioritise food security and social justice. Our aim is to show what can be done quickly and with massive impact if the government instituted the appropriate legislation.

Ending hunger is not merely a moral imperative; it's a basic human right. By harnessing our collective resolve and expertise, we can build a South Africa where no child goes to sleep hungry and where every South African has the opportunity to thrive.

On a final note, the theme of this year’s World Day of Social Justice is ‘Bridging Gaps, Building Alliances’. This theme has particular relevance to SA Harvest’s fight against the injustice of hunger because its success depends on all stakeholders – government, civil society, and the private sector – joining us in this critical endeavour. Together, let us forge a path towards a more just and equitable society, where the scourge of hunger is but a distant memory.

Saturday Star

Alan Browde, CEO and Founder of SA Harvest