Food security, urban governance and multilevel government in Africa
De Visser, Jaap
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Realising the right to food requires more than an increase in food production. Increasing access to food is equally important, so this contribution adopts a “food systems approach”. Against the backdrop of a growing number of countries on the continent that are decentralising powers to cities and regions, this chapter assesses the role of local governments in South Africa with respect to food security. It argues that food security is not just a national and/or provincial government concern, but that the Constitution demands of municipalities to contribute to realising the right to food. Against the backdrop of a general introduction into the division of responsibilities between national, provincial and local government, it deploys two arguments to make this assertion. The first is located in the jurisprudence of the South African Constitutional Court on socio-economic rights. The second is located in the division of powers between national, provincial and local government. This contribution explores various linkages between a municipality’s constitutional powers and food security. Specific emphasis is placed on the municipality’s responsibility to regulate trade and markets as well as its responsibility to conduct spatial planning and land-use management. The argument made in this chapter is also relevant in other countries on the continent that combine socio-economic rights with multilevel government arrangements.
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