(Debate on Africa Day in Parliament: Strengthening resilience and sustainability in nutrition and food security on the African continent)
An amount of R50 million promised to Cuba to help alleviate food shortages and R22 million for a flagpole to promote nation building – these are good examples of just how out of touch the ANC government is with the plight of ordinary South Africans.
All this while 40% of South Africans are starving and comply with the official definition of hunger. It is a crying shame.
Fortunately, the aid to Cuba was temporarily halted with a court order obtained by a civil organisation (AfriForum). The flag idea is also being reconsidered after severe public outcry from the entire South Africa.
The government often makes mention of Africa unity and the African Union's (AU) free-trade agreement. Cooperation and food security are frequently on the agenda. There was even an Africa Day and Month instituted for this.
When action must follow words, however, the ANC has repeatedly shown that it values its historical friendships more than the continent. And until this attitude changes, any and all debates on nutrition and food security in Africa will be fruitless. Simply talking about food will not fill an empty stomach.
The statistics on malnutrition and starvation in Africa are shocking. Chronic exposure to this leads to the occurrence of dwarfism and emaciation, especially in children under five.
It can have a life-long impact on the development of such a person and is a major cause of disease and death. In South Africa, one out of every four children is affected by this.
In 2020, 45,4 million children under the age of five were suffering from the effects of malnutrition and 13,6 of these were acutely malnourished. A quarter of these were in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the 2021 Global Hunger Index, 22 out of the 30 countries most severely affected by food shortages and malnutrition are situated in Africa.
In 2017, conflict was the main reason for a lack of food security and hunger in 18 countries. Approximately 74 million people were affected; 11 countries and 37 million people from Africa.
The history of starvation in Africa reads like a horror story. Since the sixties, it has either been droughts, or wars, or floods jeopardising food security in Africa. And millions died as a result.
Closer to home, the tragic consequences of a natural disaster were recently seen in KwaZulu Natal.
It also highlighted the fact that South Africa has no structured system in place to provide relief where a natural disaster has jeopardised food security.
Amid all the natural disasters and wars, there is another factor seriously threatening food security in Africa, and especially in South Africa.
It is the ANC and ANC ideology. As long as the ANC remains in power, there will not be food security in Africa or in South Africa.