South Africa, the right to access to adequate food is entrenched in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. The Government of South Africa has committed itself to promote and protect the right to access to adequate food, and to directly afford this right to people who are unable to enjoy it for reasons they cannot control. Access to adequate food is one of the pillars of food security, interrelated with food availability, food utilisation and stability of food supply. The approval of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security and the Household Food and Nutrition Security Strategy in 2013 by Cabinet indicates a commitment by government to promote the eradication of hunger and the achievement of food security. There is, however, fragmentation in the current and proposed institutional arrangements applicable to food security in the above-mentioned policy and the strategy.
This thesis advocates for a coordinated approach in the implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, as the guiding framework for maximising synergy between government departments and civil society. The study investigates the extent to which the current policy context for food security in South Africa promotes multisectoral coordination, through an assessment of the relationship between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Social Development as lead departments for food security in the Integrated Food Security Strategy, 2002. The study follows a qualitative research approach, through the use of interviews, documents and archival records, in order to identify the challenges to multisectoral coordination in policy and programme implementation.
The key findings of the study are that there is recognition by government of the multisectoral nature of food security, which necessitates collaboration between multiple role-players in all three spheres of government. The challenge, however, lies in the formulation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, as well as the implementation thereof. The lack of clearly defined indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the multiple pillars of food security present a challenge in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. The assignment of a convening role for multisectoral platforms to a sector department is identified as a limitation to effective multisectoral coordination. The study identifies international benchmarks using Brazil and Ethiopia as case studies from which South Africa can learn, with regard to the implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security.
The research proposes a multisectoral public policy framework for food security in South Africa, in order to promote the coordination and collaboration of the various government departments that are responsible for implementing programmes applicable to food security. The framework highlights the importance of the participation of civil society, the private sector and non-governmental organisations in the implementation of a policy that aims to address the four pillars of food security.