An estimated 30 children are dying each day from malnutrition-related causes. This is happening in a country that produces more than enough food for everyone and where the right to sufficient food is enshrined in our Constitution. To improve access to basic nutritious foods, DGMT and Grow Great have proposed a double-discounted list of 10 budget-friendly food items. Food retailers and manufacturers were asked to waive their profit on just one food label of ten highly nutritious staple foods, with government providing a matching subsidy. In this way, these foods could be double discounted to the consumer.

What do political party manifestos say about child hunger? We reviewed 13 manifestos to understand their stance. The ANC manifesto’s commitment to VAT exemptions for more foodstuffs, state support for home gardens and pressuring fair pricing from retailers.

The DA’s manifesto proposes an increase in the Child Support Grant and extending its coverage to pregnant mothers as well as increasing zero-rated VAT on more essential items. The EFF manifesto also commits to doubling the Child Support Grant and expanding VAT-free staples and providing daily nutritious meals in schools,

Both the IFP and ACDP propose expanding the VAT zero-rating of more nutritious food items frequently purchased by low-income families.

GOOD wants to introduce a R999 universal basic income grant to address poverty and food insecurity while Action-SA also proposes a three-year universal basic income stimulus (UBIS) and the removal of VAT on heating and cooking solutions commonly used by indigent families.

RISE Mzansi also offers a multifaceted approach to enhancing food security, including government income grants, food discount vouchers, land allocation and support for small-scale farming.

There are some interesting innovations when it comes to approaching the issue of food security. The UDM manifesto emphasises integrating nutrition guidance and family planning into primary healthcare, while the ATM proposes a programme of action to provide support and resources to households with available land, aiming to boost food security. The FF+, Al-Jama-Ah and BOSA are all silent on closing the food gap. If they need inspiration, they can find it here.  

Ensuring food security is a shared goal across all political party manifestos this election. While each party offers distinct strategies, there is a unanimous acceptance of the importance of increasing access to affordable nutritious food.