SA's poor face hunger crisis while money-hungry retailers left unchecked

South African government is not doing enough to curtail the current hunger crisis, says author and researcher Dr Tracy Ledger.

80% of South African households cannot afford to buy sufficient nutritious food. Somwhere between 2 500 and 5 000 children die of starvation every year in this country.

Dr Tracy Ledger, author and Research fellow at Wits' School of Social Sciences

Dr Ledger explains that government's failure to regulate the rampant profiteering of big food retailers is at the heart of the country's hunger crisis.

This whole layer between farmers and consumers - the processors and retailers - is not regulated by government.

Dr Tracy Ledger, author and Research fellow at Wits' School of Social Sciences

In South Africa it has become almost common for poor black people to be hungry. Not much has changed.

Dr Tracy Ledger, author and Research fellow at Wits' School of Social Sciences

She says that free market polices are in conflict with the Constitutionally guaranteed right to food and government's responsibility to ensure that right.

Our policy runs the food sector as if we have some overarching right to corporate profit, which overrides the right of the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.

Dr Tracy Ledger, author and Research fellow at Wits' School of Social Sciences

She says the extreme hunger and malnourishment of young children has adverse effects on their education, cognitive development, physical and mental health.

Dr Ledger says that government has the ability to intervene and address the low levels of food security.

Take a listen to her analysis:

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