Sanitation challenges persist in Khayelitsha
Read this article by David Harrison on the ongoing sanitation challenges faced by khayelitsha residents.
The City of Cape Town spends nearly 60% of its direct service delivery budget in poorer areas and has doubled the number of toilets delivered to informal settlements to more than 34 000 for the 2011-2012 financial year. It has also increased the budget for the provision of sewerage infrastructure and the provision of water, yet despite this, for large numbers of people living in informal settlements, there are still limited options when it comes to sanitation and it may indeed seem as though little changes. “. (Full article here)
The challenges of sanitation and food security are linked in so many ways.
Province wanting to take NCDs seriously
IOL are reporting the following story:
“Western Cape premier Helen Zille has appointed researchers to find ways for people to lead healthier lifestyles, it was reported on Wednesday.
The Cape Times reported that researchers from the University of Cape Town and the non-governmental organisation, Ideas42, started work in September and would pilot a R1 million project.
The university researchers were from the unit for behavioural economics and neuro-economics.
The Western Cape had higher levels of inactivity, obesity and smoking than the national average, said health department spokeswoman Faiza Steyn.
“Poor choices that lead to ill-health include the misuse of alcohol, smoking, poor diet and insufficient exercise and unsafe sex,” she said.
She said that 60 percent of emergencies treated at provincial hospitals and clinics were the result of medical conditions. Most of these were chronic and many “could be prevented by a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking”.
Zille’s spokesman Zak Mbhele told the newspaper at least R 1 billion was spent by the province each year to treat preventable illnesses and injuries. -” (link)
I am delighted that this is beginning to be escalated beyond rhetoric (The National Department of Health have been discussing this for some time).
Zille alluded to this with her budget speech last month. At the time the response from opposition parties was not positive. (“Zille said that where illnesses could be prevented, citizens must take responsibility for doing so.
“(It must start) with us, right here in this Parliament, going on an eating and exercise regime to bring our weight to normal limits.”
But Cope MPL Mbulelo Ncedana said Zille had insulted the majority of people in the Western Cape with her comments.
“I don’t understand her logic. She has insulted us by saying our eating habits place a burden on the health system,” Ncedana said.” (link)).
I think the problem is really one of articulation of the problem. We need to shift away from talking about NCDs as “Diseases of Lifestyle” or “Diseases of Affluence” and recognise that there are structural drivers behind the choices that people make. Until the structural and personal issues are considered together and given appropriate weighting, Zille is going to have a tough time getting buy in from people and not being accused of being judgmental
Impact of by-laws on informal traders
Given the vital role of the informal sector in ensuring access to food for low income households, this (see below) is of grave concern.
“A PRESS CONFERENCE WILL TAKE PLACE AT
THE COSATU BOARDROOM COMMUNITY HOUSE
SALT RIVER ROAD SALT RIVER
THURSDAY 07 MARCH 2013 AT 11H00
IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW BY-LAWS
AFFECTING SPAZA SHOPS
Joint Press Release (6 March 2013)
IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW BY-LAWS AFFECTING SPAZA SHOPS
A Coalition of organisations has been formed to challenge the City of Cape Town on its recently promulgated By-Laws that will have a dramatic impact on the continued viability of SPAZA shops in Cape Town’s townships. The coalition consists of the following organisations: Western Cape Informal Traders Coalition, the Somali Association of South Africa, COSATU Western Cape, PASSOP, the National Consumer Forum, the South African Council of Churches, the Scalibrini Foundation and the Legal Resources Centre.
The Coalition believes that despite the fact that the preamble of the By-Laws stating that the intention of theses By-Laws are to stimulate the job creation in the informal sector and make it easier to trade, the application of the provisions of this By Law will have the opposite effect. The Coalition estimates that up to 70% of existing SPAZA shops in the greater Cape Town municipality will have to close because they will not be able to meet the stringent requirements.
The most harmful of these provisions is section 5.2.3 which requires that there should be a separate structure for trading, and that no area used for trading should open into a bedroom or toilet. These provisions clearly targets the most vulnerable of subsistence traders who reside in one roomed RDP houses and one roomed shacks in informal settlements and are therefore automatically disqualified from trading.
The restrictive trading hours will have a dramatic impact on consumers who rely on Spaza Shops for their daily essentials with residents having to commute to formal shopping malls at night and on Sundays to purchase a loaf of bread. The restricted trading hours is of further concern in that many formal shops in residential areas are trading for 24 hours especially forecourt convenience stores, but these shops charge a premium which impoverished consumers cannot afford.
The Coalition has asked the City to place a moratorium on the implementation of these By- Laws to allow for further consultation and broader participation. The Coalition contends that there was insufficient stakeholder participation and that these By-Laws are being implemented without due process and without sufficient dissemination of the new requirements to those directly affected.
The position of the City that there is no longer an opportunity for dialogue and that the consultation process exceeded the statutory requirements is a point of dispute as no correspondence about the implementation of the impending by-laws were received by any of the recognised Informal Traders representative organisations.
The Coalition wishes to draw attention to the social impact that these regulations will have on the informal and formal economy with many poor families being left disempowered and the supply chain upstream already in economic crises. Further job losses especially in the Wholesale industry will become inevitable. With unemployment on the Cape Flats hovering at 40 percent is it morally defensible to penalise those in our communities who display the entrepreneurial initiative to fend for themselves and create more jobs both in the informal and the formal economy?
We ask the question: were these By-Laws designed to benefit the Corporate Retailers who are increasingly encroaching on the townships with the proliferation of shopping malls? Are these unrealistic and unjustifiable requirements placed on SPAZA shops a disguised attempt to eliminate competition for Big Business especially Corporate Retailers? There seems to be a hidden agenda whether it is to satisfy Corporate interest or to target Foreign Nationals most of the new requirements have no logical basis.
The criminalising of the informal sector has severe implications for law enforcement agencies with their focus changing from real crime to the enforcement of ridiculous by-laws. The renewed harassment of informal traders by the police and city officials results in a breakdown of trust and makes informal traders especially vulnerable to criminal elements who extort “taxes” and victimise them without them being able to rely on the police for protection due to the police being seen as part of an oppressive system.
The Coalition wishes to raise the plight of the informal sector in the public domain in order to get support for our call for further consultation and a moratorium on the implementation of the provisions in these By-Laws that have direct impact on the sector. Our appeal is for the respect of Democratic principles of full stake-holder participation and mutual consultation with those directly affected.
We are currently mobilising within the Informal Sector especially SPAZA shops to make submissions on how these By-Laws are most likely to affect them. We are busy establishing a fund to assist Informal Traders to defend their livelihoods in Court should these By-Laws be enforced.
We withhold our right to challenge these bylaws in Court should the City continue refuse to engage us in a meaningful discussion and commit to resolve this matter in an amenable and amicable fashion.
OUR SLOGAN REMAINS: NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US !!!
For more information contact any of the participating organisations as indicted below.
The Western Cape Informal Traders Coalition - Riedewaan Charles 083 965 6324
The Somali Association of South Africa - Abdi Kader 084 775 5668
The National Consumer Forum - Imraahn Mukaddam 073 794 6092
COSATU Western Cape - Mike Louw 082 3395 443
PASSOP - Braam Hanekom 084 319 1764
The South African Council of Churches - +27 21 423 4261
The Scalibrini Foundation - Miranda Madikane 083 380 3572
The Black Business Chamber - Sizwe Ngqame 072 109 5259
Khaya Cishe 073 605 3209”
“Don’t block chicken imports” - Wilmot James, DA
Wilmot James has called on DTI not to impose tarrifs on chicken imports.
I have posted on the case of the Brazilian chicken imports a couple times (Link, link). My colleague, Jonathan Crush, found that the frozen chickens being traded at the markets in Brazil were imported from Brazil.
While I agree with James that food prices are a major barrier to food security (and this statement is in line with the DA’s statement on hunger and the right to food last year), I remain concerned that the understanding of food security within SA is based either in an overly productionist framing, or a pricing framing. The whole food system needs greater attention, and the intersections between the political, social, economic and environmental need focus.
“Poor will suffer if tariffs on chicken imports are increased
The DA will be meeting with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to persuade him not to impose damaging tariffs on chicken imports, as this will end up hurting South Africa’s poor and least advantaged citizens the most.
The Minister’s plan to slap tariffs on certain categories of chicken imports, specifically those that come from our fellow BRICS country Brazil, is a misguided attempt to protect local producers who wrongly claim that the imported products threaten their business.
Statistics provided by SARS show that poultry imports equate to only 10% of local production. Furthermore, the same statistics reveal that poultry imports are on the decline. Chicken imports are therefore hardly a credible threat to local producers.
The truth is that 30%-35% of our chicken imports arrive as a paste from Brazil and go straight to local manufacturers of affordable and protein-rich foods such as polony and sausages. South African producers do not make the paste. There is no competition here at all.
At present, chicken paste imports are tariff free. Any action to impose tariffs will simply drive the price of polony and sausages up, which will impact poor South Africans the most.
The remaining 65%-70% of imported chicken consists of leg quarters imported from the European Union. It is totally misleading to call these ‘cheap imports’ because the pieces arrive here at a higher price than the local product. Moreover, these imported products do not contain the high quantities of brine that some South African companies pump into the frozen chicken pieces to bulk up the weight. The appropriate term for this practice is cheating, and cheating the poor at that.
I will be sure to raise this matter with Minister Davies during our meeting, and will make every effort to ensure that he abandons any plans to increase tariffs on chicken imports. Doing so would just place an additional burden on many South Africans who are already struggling to put food on the table.
Statement issued by Wilmot James MP, DA Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, February 17 2013”
“Its your right” Food Security programme - An interesting experience
An interesting day. I was on the SABC 1 show “Its your Right” today, focussing on food security. It is an hour long multi-lingual show with phone in. I was in studio in Sea Point and the presenter and other guest(s) were in Joburg. I say other guest(s) because the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was meant to have a representative there. When they were doing the sound check, they were still expecting someone to arrive. They never did.
This made for an interesting show, as so many of the questions were directly about government’s response to the problem. I felt as if I was being encouraged to be critical of the state. Tricky. I tried to point to some of the limitations (not enough funding, no local government mandate, limitations of ag extension, too caught up in the productionist framing), but balance it with why those problems are in place.
However, I think I did say that the department were not paying enough attention to food security. Fair enough, I think, given the no show.
I also called for a national conversation on food security and greater civil society engagement in the food problem.
Side note: TV is hard. Looking straight into a camera for an hour is hard work. Particularly when you are embarrassingly mono-lingual and don’t have a clue what most of the callers are saying. I recognised key words, but not enough to really make sense of it. So, thank you to the host, Jonathan, for keeping me up to speed and my excellent co-guest Thabileng Mothabi from SPII.
Tina Joemat-Pettersson on food security
The Minister of Agriculture, Foresty and Fisheries released wrote the article below (Link)
It is good to see AFSUN getting more coverage. However, three small points:
1) The 12 million figure attributed to AFSUN is actually a DAFF figure, not ours
2) There is a significant difference between food insecurity and starvation.
3) I welcome the discussion on food waste and better access to markets for smallholder farmers, but I am disappointed the default conclusion is again a call for household food production. We need to take the systemic challenges seriously.
“A NEW study by the African Food Security Urban Network (Afsun) reveals startling results that have shocked South Africans, leading to various debates about what we can do to combat the extreme levels of food insecurity.
Roughly 12 million South Africans are food insecure at the same time as the country is generally considered a food secure country. Globally, 80 million people are facing starvation.
Internationally, food security is defined as the ability of people to secure adequate food. Researchers have defined food security as the access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. The key component is access to enough nutritious food.
The right to access to sufficient food is embedded in sections 26 and 27 of the constitution. The 2030 National Development Plan outlines food security as an important component to our vision for growth.
The plan identifies “food security, water security and rural development; adaptation strategies and environmental resilience; more effective models of black economic empowerment; exercise, diets, nutrition and other preventative health areas; social cohesion and language; disability policy; and partnerships for innovation” as priority areas.
The millennium development goals, to which South Africa is a signatory, have set the goal of halving the proportion of people who go hungry over the period 1990 and 2015, and to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.
Every year, on October 16, the international community marks World Food Day to heighten public awareness about food security.
In South Africa, last week’s revelation that the number of people facing starvation is roughly 20 percent of our population was met with shock and disbelief.
While the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been consistent in its message about poverty across our social fabric, many struggle to believe that urban dwellers are facing poverty just as much as their rural counterparts. What can citizenry do?
A UN Development Programme (UNDP) report of 2006 pointed out that food insecurity is closely linked to poverty, income and unemployment. These challenges were also outlined by President Jacob Zuma in last year’s State of the Nation address, in which he challenged all citizens to fight the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. All government programmes inherently fight poverty.
Additionally, the UNDP report revealed that poverty and unemployment have a strong relationship with food insecurity, and in most cases food insecurity manifest in multiple deprivations. Food insecurity, it said, begins with the loss of employment, which in turns leads to a significant degradation in living standard.
While analysing the reasons for food insecurity, we also take cognisance of rising food prices and the impact these have on households’ ability to afford nutritious food. According to the National Agricultural Marketing Council’s quarterly food price monitoring reports, from January 2008 to October 2010, consumers in rural areas on average paid R16.74 more than consumers in urban areas for the same food.
A major task facing the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been, and remains, the provision of assistance to SMMEs and co-operatives.
To date, there are 230 000 smallholder farmers and beneficiaries of land reform programmes and 35 000 commercial farmers.
There is an urgent need to support smallholder farmers by assisting them with access to markets, access to finance and access to skills as an additional means to support existing food security objectives and programmes.
Having said that, smallholder farmers cannot stay “emerging” forever. We need them to take part in the economy, to take part in export businesses, and to take opportunities to grow their businesses so they can also employ workers.
A total of R12 574 082 has been spent across nine provinces on 18 large-scale co-operatives. These have the potential to create more than 50 jobs each, with the primary aim to direct resources and efforts towards sustainable projects.
The comprehensive agricultural support programme is a mechanism through which the assistance is provided to people in rural areas to grow their own food, so they can sustain themselves and their families. Our department has set itself a target of establishing 15 000 smallholder producers, with a particular focus on women. We have seen many inspirational stories of women who are doing it by themselves through co-operatives and their own farming businesses, and employing other women.
Some of the constraints that smallholder farmers face relate to lack of access to land, and poor physical and institutional infrastructure. Most smallholder farmers are in rural areas, particularly the former homelands, where lack of physical and institutional infrastructure limits their expansions. Lack of access to proper roads, for example, limits the ability of a farmer to transport inputs and produce, and to access information.
Many people have been wondering what society can do to help the government combat food insecurity.
This question fortunately comes at a time when several media reports have alerted us to rampant food waste, with 900 million tons of food apparently discarded annually.
Perhaps we should start there. Whether we live in urban or rural areas, we need to take note of how much food goes to waste.
There is also growing need for us to support NGOs such as Food Bank SA, so that food donations reach even the most remote areas.
We need to assist NGOs in widening their distribution logistics.
There is growing need for a social campaign focusing on changing our mindsets about food production, and cascading down to what we, as consumers, are doing to contribute to this problem and how we can change our behaviour.
The call is to all South Africans from all walks of life to contribute to food security by planting vegetables in their households.”
WESSA supports the Philippi Horticultural Area
This is a nice video from the IF Campaign.
Yes, it is a bit simplistic in some of its assertions, but for a major campaign these kinds of blanket statements are necessary
Concerns raised about Electricity price hikes and food security
From today’s Daily Maverick:
“The second day of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s public hearings on Eskom’s proposed price increases was dominated by arguments highlighting the likely negative economic and social effects of such increases. The threat posed to food security was at the forefront of the concerns expressed by most organisations. ” (link to full article)
It is good to see food insecurity being recognised as a crucial challenge, and therefore all the more disappointing to hear the continued rhetoric of social grants and community gardens as the preferred government responses.
Food insecurity is a structural problem, not simply one of household poverty and not one that such single focus interventions will address.
“Twelve million going to bed hungry in SA” The Times
Graeme Hoskins of the Times wrote an article highlighting some of our work today. It is a little more sensationalist than I’d like, but mostly accurate. It is good to get the food issue back into a national paper.
“Though this country produces sufficient food for its population, skyrocketing prices prevent the poor - most of them urban households - from getting adequate nutrition .
The hungriest people are in Cape Town (80%) and Msunduzi, in KwaZulu-Natal (87%).
A five-year study by the University of Cape Town’s African Food Security Unit Network has exposed a food crisis that constitutes a “death sentence” for many and which the government has labelled as “serious”.
It found that, in Johannesburg, 43% of the poor faced starvation and malnutrition. Researchers believe the figure could be higher.
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, 234million of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.
The plight of the hungry was highlighted in 2011 when four children, aged between two and nine, died in a farmer’s field as they began an 18km walk in search of their mother and food in Verdwaal, North West. It was later discovered that they had not eaten for more than a week.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries last week revealed that 12million South Africans are “food insecure”.
Food security refers to the ability to access adequate nutrition - food that is affordable, hygienic and culturally accepted.
Food Bank SA spokesman Keri Uys said yesterday: “South Africa is in dire straights. The entire country is affected. It is not just rural areas.
“Every day millions of people go to be bed hungry. There are children whose daily food is half a white-bread sandwich. How can you bring up a nation on this?”
“The implication is a death sentence.”
The network’s Dr Jane Battersby-Lennard said the University of Cape Town study focused on poor areas in 11 cities in the Southern African Development Community, including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Msunduzi.
The survey covered 1060 households in each city.
Battersby-Lennard said the number of South Africans subject to food insecurity could be far higher than the survey suggested.
“The figures from the surveyed cities show 77% of all households were either moderately or severely food insecure.
“When it comes to South Africa, two of the surveyed cities were higher than this, which is dire. The challenge of food security in our cities is greater than imagined.”
She said the problem was access to adequate nutrition, not the availability of food.
“This is because of poverty. People are simply too poor to buy food. On top of this, poor areas have seven times fewer supermarkets than rich areas, making it a struggle to access nutritional food.
“This forces households, especially those that run out of money before the end of the month, to borrow and buy food on credit.
“If supermarkets do move to these [poor] areas it often forces informal food traders out of business, making people more food insecure.”
She said the government had identified food security as a “critical challenge”.
“Though a higher proportion of rural households face food insecurity, when you look at the different scales of food insecurity - which range from mild to moderate and severe - more urban households fall within the severe food insecurity category.
“Severe food insecurity means households are forced to cut back on meal sizes and numbers, with people going hungry for days. Our urban population is facing severe malnourishment.”
The study found two distinct heightened hunger periods - January, and during winter. On average, the poorest households surveyed spent 53% of their income on food.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman Palesa Mokomele said that if 12million people were subject to food insecurity it implied that about 4million households faced starvation.
“These are families often relying on only one kind of food, such as maize, often not in regular supply.
“The government is concerned … it is a crisis.”
Joe Kgobokoe, the department’s chief director for food security and agrarian reform, said a “host of programmes” addressed the crisis.
“[The department] promotes food gardens at homes and schools, and assists rural smallhold ers to produce food.”“
University of Cape Town