Since 2002, a range of South African policies have attempted to address the disproportionate burden of food and nutrition insecurity on the population. Yet malnutrition among the poor has worsened. This study reviewed policies to examine their implications for food security and the treatment of malnutrition. Policies enacted between 2002 and 2017 were retrieved from government departments and the data were thematically analysed. A preliminary analysis shows that policy has aided production through input provision and capacity building. Taxation, school nutrition programmes and social grants are some of the food access initiatives, whilst micronutrient supplementation, breastfeeding campaigns and food fortification are policies specifically focused on nutrition. However, despite these interventions, food insecurity has remained due to gaps in and contradictions among policies and the lack of coordination in policy development and implementation, especially across sectors. To improve food and nutrition security, government must better engage with ideas about how to address food and nutrition security systemically, and develop the appropriate coordination mechanisms for a more holistic approach to this challenge.