Food protest: a nuanced understanding of collective action

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Forestalling the effect of interferences

Very often, it seems idealistic to assert that the obligation of the state to respect the right to food proscribes it from interfering in existing access to food. In contrast, it is relevant for the state to interfere in the means or entitlements that individuals possess towards their right to food. Such interference often assists the state in fulfilling other constitutional obligations. The obligation to respect in such instances obliges the state to take measures to avert the impact of the interference in the exercise of the legal right to food and nutrition.
The aforementioned security of tenure statutes (LTA, PIE and ESTA) provide a clear indication of how this legal obligation of the state has been transformed into a sort of legal entitlement for land occupiers. In some cases, the statutes oblige the courts to take into consideration the extent to which evictees can have access to suitable alternative land prior to granting an eviction order.217 Then again, where such an alternative land is lacking, an eviction order can be declined.218 A suitable alternative land may, be defined as a piece of land that is appropriate and fulfills the residential and agricultural needs of the inhabitants.219 Against this backdrop, the statutes impose an obligation on the state (particularly where it is inevitable to interfering with individual‘s basic access to food and nutrition) to reduce the rate of interference by ensuring other approaches to access food.

Eliminating barriers in the path of accessing food

A contravention of the obligation to respect the constitutional right to food is similarly triggered when the state adopts measures, which fails to enhance people‘s existing access to food, or makes it impossible or cumbersome for individuals to acquire sufficient food. Similar to the constraints subsistence fishers are facing in section 5.3.1.1 above, this obligation is demonstrated in the case of Mashava v The President of the Republic of South Africa,220 where the Constitutional Court nullified a presidential proclamation. This proclamation (1996 Proclamation R7),221 specifically allocated the operationlisation of the 1992 Social Assistance Act 59 (SAA) to provincial governments. In this case, a permanently disabled indigent, had submitted an application in October 2000 to the Limpopo provincial Department of Health and Welfare for a disability grant. He was informed, after approximately four months that his application had been successful and he could start accessing the grant from the Department‘s finance office. Yet, he was subsequently, denied this grant for several months until he instituted a legal action against the Department. He later received his first grant on 25 January 2002 without the full amount of outstanding back pay.223 The claimant averred that if the SAA was being operationalised from the national level, he would have received his grant within a reasonable time. He further avowed that unlike the national level, the administration of the grant at the provincial level is saddled with incapacity, inadequate resources as well as inefficiency.
Considering that the administrative incapability hindered the payment of Mr Mashava‘s disability grant and thereby depriving him and his dependents their sole entitlement to access food, the Court affirmed that the state must remove all forms of impediments while fulfilling its obligation to respect the right to social security. Undoubtedly, there is a direct link between social assistance grants and access to food, especially for the rural poor. Therefore, a delay or denial of one‘s access to social assistance directly affects one‘s ‗daily sustenance and well-being‘, particularly her right to food.

READ  FREEDOM AS A RELATIONAL PRACTICE

The obligation to protect the right to food

The obligation to protect the right to food as set out under section 7(2) of the 1996 Constitution obliges the state to safeguard individuals right of access to food against third parties.226 Consequently, the state has to adopt policies, which regulates the activities of private actors to ensure that food prices are reasonable to meet the needs of the poor. The next two sections unpacks the measures to be adopted by the state to protect individual‘s right to food.

CHAPTER ONE  
INTRODUCTION
1. Research problem
2. Background
3. Research question
4. Methodology
5. Conceptual clarification
6. Literature review
8. Outline of chapters
CHAPTER TWO
THEORY AND PRACTICE OF SOCIAL PROTEST
1. Introduction
2. Conceptual underpinning of social protest
3. Why do people protest?
4.South Africa
5.Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE
THE RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS TO ADEQUATE FOOD
1.Introduction
2. A conceptual approach to the right to food
3. The right to food in international law
4. Obligations of states in relation to right to food
5. The right to food in South Africa
7. Conclusion
CHAPTER FOUR
THE CHALLENGE OF REALISING THE RIGHT TO FOOD
1. Introduction
2. Tracing the root causes of chronic hunger in South Africa
3. Existing grounds for food interventions
4. The right to food and the problem of implementation
5. Framework law
5. Conclusion
CHAPTER FIVE
POLICY ACTORS AND SOCIAL POLICY CHANGE
1. Introduction
2.Social policy actors
3.Conclusion
CHAPTER SIX
A STARVING MOB HAS NO RESPECT‘: FOOD PROTEST IN SOUTH AFRICA
1. Introduction
2. Food protest: a nuanced understanding of collective action
3. Mapping key factors which influence food protests
4. Conclusion
CHAPTER SEVEN
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Introduction
2. Overview
3. Conclusions
4. Recommendations
6. Areas for further research
LIST OF CASES

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