Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s address at the Moral Regeneration Movement Month Closing Ceremony, Nelson Mandela Metro, Port Elizabeth
30 July 2011
Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, Ms Noxolo Kieviet;
Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa;
Members of the Executive Council of the Eastern Cape Province;
The Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan, Councillor Zanoxolo Wayile;
Members of the National House of Traditional Leaders;
CEO of the Moral Regeneration Movement and Board Members;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is indeed an honour to address the closing of this important month for moral regeneration.
This year’s theme: “Together Nurturing the Good in Everyone through the Charter of Positive Values”, serves as a fitting tribute to the father of our democracy, Madiba, who, throughout 67 years, taught us of personal sacrifice and to confront the scourge of poverty, racism, strife and disease with conviction.
In this regard I wish to congratulate all South Africans who selflessly opened their hearts to contribute 67 minutes of their time during Nelson Mandela’s birthday. This was not only in honour of Madiba, but also, for the greater good of humanity. We say to them all these inspired human beings thank you, dankie, siyabulela, siyabonga, reyaleboga!
The Moral Regeneration Movement is a movement of various sectors of society aimed at harnessing our collective actions on developing a caring society through the revival of the spirit of Botho-Ubuntu- and the actualisation of the values and ideals enshrined in our constitution, our heritage and our cultural ways of life. The Moral Regeneration Month highlights the call to the nation to reflect and evaluate our actions and commitment towards building a just, tolerant and moral society for the common good of all humanity.
During this period, like with Nelson Mandela Day, communities are asked to perform good acts, nurture and care for others through activities that promote community activism, reconciliation, responsible parenting and in general promoting positive values and social cohesion.
This year the movement has chosen to dedicate this month to the promotion of positive values by focusing specifically on forgiveness, solidarity against xenophobia, responsible parenting and encouraging the youth to be responsible.
The very first value in the Charter of Positive Values speaks of Respecting Human Dignity and Equality. It recognises that we are all born free, with equal dignity, the right to life, shelter, food and security.
These are indivisible rights that are afforded everyone, including foreign nationals and asylum seekers who, through no fault of their own, have had to flee to South Africa because of conflict, famine and deteriorating socio-economic conditions in their countries of birth. These people, no matter how different they may be from us, belong to the family of humanity and are deserving of our respect and basic human rights.
Last year when we welcomed the world to our shores for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we used that opportunity to display our values and spirit of Botho/Ubuntu by hosting visitors from all corners of the world with great respect and affection. This treatment should be no different when it comes to giving refuge to our fellow brothers and sisters whether from the African continent or anywhere else in the world.
We therefore condemn the attacks and killing of foreign nationals in our country and encourage all of us to learn from one another and work together in solidarity to rid Africa of conflict, disease and hunger.
Our society continues to be marred by atrocious deeds that take place in our homes, schools, communities, including assaults on the vulnerable, the elderly, and defenceless women and children.
Be that as it may, we remain a caring and forgiving nation that believes in the inherent good within all of us to overcome the wrongs of the past and look forward to a positive future. This is the greatest lesson we learned in 1994 and through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process, which left the world awestruck at our ability to forgive the most heinous crimes against humanity perpetuated during apartheid era.
It is these values of caring and forgiveness that informed our position to abolish the death penalty and to develop a correctional approach towards offenders in the hope that one day they can be reintegrated back into our communities as responsible citizens. I am therefore encouraged that we have among us young people from the St Albans Correctional Services facility who are here to showcase their talent and skills acquired during their correctional residence.
Some of them are ready for parole and others are getting close to the end of their sentence and will soon be going home. It is important that these young people are forgiven, welcomed and reintegrated into the communities they came from originally. We encourage these communities to welcome them and to work with them to reverse the actions of their past and look forward to a brighter future.
The Charter of positive values calls on us to teach the youth to enjoy being young while at the same time learning to be responsible citizens. This places on us the responsibility to take care to teach our youth about our values as a society and also to learn from their life experiences as the new breed of globalised citizens of the world.
We therefore applaud the efforts of some of those young people who have taken it upon themselves to create a better future for others by encouraging other young people to persevere and to better their lives.
We are extremely proud of the many young men and women who voluntarily offer their services in tutoring mathematics and sciences to learners within their communities and give a hand up to those who need it most. This type of work encourages us to sleep easy knowing that the future of our country in indeed in good hands. While we are encouraged by this, there are still many socials ills that are plaguing the youth including teenage pregnancy, substance and alcohol abuse, crime and increased levels of peer pressure arising out of a new culture of conspicuous consumption.
Part of the reason for this is that some parents have shirked their parenting responsibilities and no longer spend enough time to bond with children and to teach them positive values, including humbleness, self respect, empathy, appreciation and gratitude as handed down from our forbearers.
Our children are now prone to learning from the streets, magazines, television, internet and other unsupervised activities. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to return to our old age custom of collective parenting as parents, teachers, and bystanders encouraged by the Universal African adage that it “It takes a village to raise a child”.
In addition to community parenting the charter also calls on us to stand together against crime committed in our community by those who live amongst us. Most instances of crime are perpetuated by our own children, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters. Some of us continue to turn a blind eye to these crimes and benefit from nefarious crimes committed by our own against innocent people. We therefore call on communities to fight crime wherever it manifests itself and ensure that community members do not turn their homes into safe haven for criminals evading the might of the law.
However this call is also made within the context of communities working together with police to fight crime. We remain opposed to vigilantism and cannot allow ordinary citizens to take the law into their own hands. We are especially concerned about the ongoing spate of police killings and appeal to communities to come forward to team- up with the police against these criminals who are determined to take over our streets through crime.
I must avoid the temptation of becoming government’s lay preacher in residence by using this opportunity to thank Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa and the Moral Regeneration Movement Board for their assistance to government in carrying out this daunting project, without their commitment, wisdom and hard work, government would indeed be left wanting.
I congratulate them for a successful Moral Regeneration Month Campaign and promoting the Charter of Positive values. I hope the good work done during this month will continue until next year.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY ON 30 JULY 2011