Child malnutrition in the Eastern Cape should be declared a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act and compel the government to intervene immediately and decisively. This was the finding of the South African Human Rights Commission following its investigation into the state of food security in the province. It found that a substantial percentage of children in the Eastern Cape are suffering from various forms of malnutrition.
Food insecurity in the Eastern Cape should be declared a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, the South African Human Rights Commission ruled on Thursday in a report highlighting the devastating incidence and consequences of hunger in the Eastern Cape.
The SAHRC further pointed out that the government was not responding well to the crisis.
SAHRC commissioner Jonas Sibanyoni said the report was done as a response to waves of desperate calls from communities and heart-wrenching media reports. “We deemed it imperative to investigate,” he said.
As one of their findings they had suggested that the government seriously consider increasing the Child Support Grant (it was R480 at the time and is now R520) and extending the school nutrition programme to early childhood development centres.
The Eastern Cape head of the SAHRC, Dr Eileen Carter, said the data that was provided to them had shown that in 2021 to 2022 more than 1,000 children were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition in the province and 120 of them had died.
It also showed that 25% of the province’s children are stunted, that is one in four children.
“But this condition is underreported,” she said. “It is a much bigger…