Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Buying food in South Africa

The article from the ChristianScienceMonitor starts with Zimbabweans buying food to sell back home...and then mentions some in SA blame this for the increase in food prices.

But here in the Philippines, our food is going sky high too...and our president has given poor people cards to buy discount rice etc. and distributing cheaper rice via churches and schools...so why isn't South Africa doing this?

From the article:

You know it's bad when you have to go to another country to buy bread.

That's just what Bellarms and his brothers do every day, buying enough loaves of bread in the South African town of Musina to fill the back of his pickup truck and take it back across the border to his native Zimbabwe to sell for 200 million Zimbabwe dollars (roughly $1 US) a loaf.

"Eish, it's bad there," says Bellarms, who declines to give his full name because of possible reprisal from Zimbabwe police. "We come every day except Saturday, buying boxes of soap, cooking oil, the same commodities that you just can't find in Zimbabwe anymore. We just wait for God now. He knows that we face trouble here."

In a country where many farmers have stopped farming, where a chicken can cost a quarter of a teacher's monthly salary and bread half that – if you can even find it – hunger is a looming crisis that is sending increasing numbers of Zimbabweans out of the country for their mere survival.

The rising number of Zimbabweans in South Africa – estimated to be nearly 3 million – has created growing anxiety among the working-class South Africans who compete with them for jobs. This anxiety has recently turned to anger, as a wave of antiforeigner attacks in Johannesburg townships such as Alexandra and Diepsloot, and even downtown Johannesburg itself have killed 22 in the past few days, and left 217 others injured and nearly 6,000 homeless.

"If you listen to the reasons given by the people who have participated in the violence, you hear about how foreigners have taken their jobs, foreigners have taken their houses, foreigners are committing crimes, so you see there are socioeconomic concerns in the communities where the violence is taking place," says Prince Mashele, head of the crime and justice program at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Tshwane, as Pretoria is now called.

The longer Zimbabwe's political crisis continues, the greater the economic hardship on the Zimbabwe people, and the more those people come to South Africa and other countries for relief....

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