SOUTH AFRICAN ACTIVE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (SAACSO)
POVERTY, STARVATION AND DISASTER RELIEF
South Africa comes from the past that created enormous inequalities between the rich and the poor. Failure to bridge the relentlessly increasing gap between the poor and the rich, increasing poverty, unemployment , high figures of HIV/AIDS have compounded uncontrollable and misdirected frustration among people, that finds its vent through xenophobic outrage, relentless and mounting service delivery protests and crime, let alone increasing number of children-headed families under destitution, hunger and starvation.
It is a fact of life that in South Africa there are people and children who go to sleep on empty stomachs, not knowing where their next meal is going to come from the next morning, in a country that prides itself as a net food exporter and a conducive food growing climate. As a result the Government introduced school nutrition program and in the past embarked on a programme of food distribution backed by R400 million budget.
Unemployment in South Africa is unacceptably too high. According to Statistics South Africa, the official size of South Africa’s potential labour force is 17.4 million people. Of these, approximately 13 million people are formally employed whilst roughly 8.5 million South Africans are currently either unemployed, discouraged about their prospects of finding work or are considered under-employed. Since the beginning of economic recession and corona virus pandemic, South Africa has so far lost over one million jobs, Corona virus has exacerbated food poverty, worse to children-headed families that have lost parents due to HIV pandemic and have nothing to live on. A true story is told about a child-headed family of 5 black children who had lost all their parents, left on their own having nothing to eat and no one to support them, they starved for days. They found a died dog ran over by a car on a street. They cooked it just to eat and survive.
The above socio – economic material conditions of existence lead to extreme poverty, causes frustration, desperation leading to food poverty and starvation, high child mortality rate, crime escalation, xenophobia and other social pathologies
Prevalence of malnutrition in South Africa
Malnutrition is affecting individuals whom “food and nutrient intake is consistently inadequate to meet individual requirements. “By the
standards of this definition, malnutrition is a prevalent problem in South Africa. In the year 2000, 39% of the country’s population suffered from malnutrition. Children are the most affected by this problem, especially young children. South Africa’s problem of malnutrition is unique to other countries’ malnutrition problems because South Africa is a primarily young country, with one third of the population being under the age of 15.Thus, the fact that 25% of pre-school children and 20% of primary school children in South Africa suffered from malnutrition in the year 2000 means that the future population of South Africa is being endangered by the problems of malnutrition The problem of malnutrition in South Africa can be individually assessed through the deviation of weight of each child from the average weight for their age. According to the World Health Organization, the deviation from the average weight of children under age five in South Africa has dropped from 31.5% to 8.7% from 1994 to 2008. Malnutrition can also be individually assessed through the deviation of height of each child from the average height for their age. This is because malnutrition stunts growth.
SAACSO FOOD POVERTY AND DISASTERS RELIEF
Distributes food to the most vulnerable families that have no income especially children headed families, feeding schemes in communities and those who do not qualify to receive government grant due to age but unemployed.