Title page for ETD etd-08192011-104656

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Swart, Quintin
URN etd-08192011-104656
Document Title The link between food security and national security with specific reference to South Africa
Degree MSecurity Studies
Department Political Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hough Supervisor
  • self-sufficiency
  • regional instability
  • political violence
  • nett food importer
  • malnutrition
  • land reform
  • land redistribution
  • food riots
  • farm murders
  • emerging farmers
  • food security
  • national security
  • commercial farming
Date 2011-04-18
Availability restricted

The objective of this study is to establish whether a condition of food insecurity in South Africa poses a threat to national security and to analyse the implications thereof. The dissertation presents three assumptions to be validated, namely:

  • There is an increasing link between food security and national security, also in South Africa.
  • Although the South African government does not always adequately acknowledge the effect of food insecurity on the country’s national security situation, it is increasingly becoming an issue in South Africa.
  • The regional food supply situation negatively affects South Africa’s food security situation.

To achieve the above stated aim, the study is conducted and contextualised in terms of the theory of national security and more specifically as it applies to developing countries. It primarily analyses the security implications of a condition of food insecurity for South Africa, also taking into account some global perspectives and the local impact of the regional situation in respect of food security.

In terms of the national situation, special attention is paid to the imperative of implementing sustainable land reform and facilitating co-operation among all stakeholders to the benefit of both commercial and emerging farmers. As noted, the process of land reform poses numerous challenges including balancing the need to maintain the country’s current food security status and enhancing the global competitiveness of the domestic agricultural sector while also engaging the politically sensitive task of reviewing key legislation on agriculture. Other key issues such as rural safety concerns, farm attacks and subsidisation are likewise addressed.

The study predominantly focuses on the post-1994 period with the advent of the new political dispensation, in the process highlighting official views and government policies with respect to food security/insecurity and associated challenges. It further emphasises the positions of other significant role players including political parties, NGO’s and agricultural organisations regarding the status of food security in South Africa, in the process juxtaposing these views with official positions on the issue.

The study demonstrates that food security is indeed becoming a national security issue, also in South Africa. In terms of acknowledging the potential threat posed by a condition of food insecurity to the country’s national security, it is found that the South African government is increasingly acknowledging the importance of food security. The study however also highlights inconsistencies in terms of utterances attributed to certain senior government officials, which often seem to contradict policy and other official positions. Finally, it is clear that the regional food supply situation negatively affects South Africa’s food security situation

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Swart, Q 2010, The link between food security and national security with specific reference to South Africa MSecurity Studies dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08192011-104656/ >


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