South Africa’s Food Security Policy has failed to make much progress since its inception in 1994. The problem is that too much money is spent on how the food is being grown or harvested or ploughed and not enough money is spent on ensuring that those who need the food are actually getting it.

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Image by Google Maps

The primary food-related challenge in Grassy Park is that there are too many fast food franchises that serve cheap and unhealthy food; the food offers little to no nutritional values. People frequenting these places create an unhealthy society. Plans are being put in place, but majority of them are not feasible or sustainable. In a bid to make South Africa healthier, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan proposed a sugar tax. As a result of the sugar tax, the beverage industry warns that 60 000 jobs will be lost.

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Gatsby – a popular South African foot-long sandwich that originated in the Cape Flats, Cape Town. Image by Cape Town magazine

My mother works in Capricorn and it has become my second home. Residents live in make-shift shacks and informal dwellings to escape the elements. A lot of the homes are made from scrap metal and wood.  Majority of the residents rely on social grants as a means to survive. They are faced with abject poverty and poor service delivery.

The Vrygrond Community Development Trust (CDT) introduced a community initiative called Communivarsity. The initiative aims to help community members receive trading and professional skills. Residents are only charged the “small fee of R600, in the hope that they will become self-sufficient individuals by creating their own businesses, and contribute to decreasing the unemployment rate”.  However “small” the fee may seem, it is still not affordable for a lot of the Capricorn residents.

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Capricorn Primary School. Vrygrond, Cape Town. Image sourced from Facebook

A school was recently opened – Capricorn Primary School. Students could attend the school freely. Last year, the school said that parents should pay school fees. My aunt pays R270 for the year! Some of the children’s stationery is also provided by the school and parents must buy the uniform.  They have state-of-the-art facilities.

People should not have to go to bed hungry at night when there are so many resources at our disposal. Government should put more funds into agriculture because this is the livelihood of a lot of the poor(er) communities. People should be encouraged to get healthier alternatives and be given a reward if they do. Why does South Africa not issue or have food stamps? Having fruit and vegetable gardens is a great idea because it gets all the community members involved, which ensures that nobody vandalises or steals any of the produce. It will also help with the morale as a new sense of pride is instilled in the residents. Lastly, more concerted efforts should be made to ensure food security in South Africa.

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8 thoughts on “Sustainable Living: a morale boost for communities

  1. You make very good and informed points here. I cringed when I read the part about the “sugar tax” – something that solves nothing and is a blatant tax grab. Governments everywhere today are in the pay of giant multinationals who make the rules. When the local schools here decided not to have carbonated sugar-based soft drinks in venders in the schools, Coca Cola responded by replacing the carbonated drinks with non-carb sugar loaded artificial “juices” and changing the decals on the machines from “Coke” or “Sprite” to “Minute Maid” – cheap tricks which the schools and parents accepted because of the pittance they get from drink sales. There is no doubt in my mind that the provincial government is forcing local school boards to raise more and more money so food and other corporations can blackmail the boards into using their “services” however detrimental that is to the health of the children.

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