Address by the Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, at the closure of the Moral Regeneration Month
30 July 2010Programme Director;
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize;
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Jeff Radebe;
Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Lulu Xingwana;
Premier of North West, Ms Maureen Modiselle;
Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa;
CEO of MRM, Ms Zandile Mdhladhla;
Amakhosi and all community leaders present;
Distinguished guests; and
Ladies and gentlemen:
Sanibonani! I thank you for inviting me to this closing ceremony of the Moral Regeneration Movement.
At the launch of the 2010 Moral Regeneration Month we made an undertaking to create a society that is based on proper moral values.
In the Moral Regeneration Month, we encourage each and every stakeholder to practice positive values which concentrate on building rather than destroying.
We saw examples of sharing positive values when we recently hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In almost all of our neighbourhoods across the country, the majority of South Africans were united in showing to the rest of the world those qualities we possess such as valuing and respecting human life, botho/ubuntu, and giving to others selflessly.
These very same positive qualities of doing good were also witnessed on July 18 when we came together as a nation to celebrate the birthday of Nelson Mandela.
We celebrated this important day in our calendar by practicing positive deeds that enhance and empower those less fortunate than us.
We saw children reading to the elderly, politicians volunteering to paint and clean schools, those with food to spare setting up soup kitchens for the homeless and various other acts that portray us as a caring people.
I am convinced these are not isolated incidents merely done for glory or self-praise, but for many other South Africans, this is a daily life of service to the people.
As we mark the end of this Moral Regeneration Month, we do so guided by the theme of ‘Together Reclaiming our Humanity through the Charter of Positive Values’.
In simple terms, this theme means we should all be committed to make a difference in the way we run and organise our homes, how we empower our children at school, and in what we do to build peaceful and violence-free communities.
Of course, this cannot be achieved in one month but should be ongoing throughout the year.
The meaning of morality speaks about acceptable standards of right and good conduct. Morality speaks of fighting against corruption and greed in both public and private sectors.
Let us remember that greed and corruption robs the poor of services they rightly deserve and need the most such as access to quality healthcare and economic development services.
Ngempela asibafuni ogombela kwesakhe!
Morality demands of us to speak out against violence on women and children. Acceptable moral standards speak about naming and shaming individuals who participate in criminal activities.
What is most shameful about crime is that the perpetrators are known in our communities and yet we are afraid to raise our voice and expose them to the authorities.
At the same time, morality is also about assisting perpetrators to realise the error of their ways and helping them to make amends. This we can only achieve if all of us lead by examples.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The theme of reclaiming positive values therefore should be seen as talking about what it means to be a decent human being who values the lives of others irrespective of where they come from.
After all, it is not in our culture to rob and inflict violence on fellow human beings. To do so would be to go against our basic humanity and the moral fibre which inspired our struggle against the policies of discrimination and prejudice.
As it is stated in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we are enjoined to value highly the dignity and safety of fellow human beings irrespective of their race, gender, nationality, and station in life.
A historical characteristic of being an African is to welcome and treat visitors and strangers alike with respect and equality.
NgesiZulu sithi: “isisu somhambi asingakanani, singangenso yenyoni”.
The Moral Regeneration Movement was established to lead the mobilisation of society towards the promotion of constructive social values that build and enhance healthy families and communities.
It explains the adoption and implementation of a Charter of Positive Values as a foundation to foster social cohesion in our homes, communities, schools and workplaces.
I believe supporting the moral regeneration movement is something like strengthening a tree whose fruits will certainly nourish our children and future generations.
Most importantly, this begins with the family as a basic building block of a community.
It is within the family we learn values such as love, generosity, respect and harmony.
When children know these values, they are able to approach their elders in an appropriate manner that brings honour to the family.
I have said before that a starting point to moral regeneration begins at home and in communities.
If we are to effectively undo and reverse the social ills bedevilling our families and communities – challenges like teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, crime and theft, school absenteeism, and violence against women and children – then we need to fix the home as well as our communities.
I believe this will ensure we have families and communities that are built on moral uprightness and ethical lifestyles.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Moral regeneration does not only revolve around children and young people.
It is also a duty of parents to explain to their children the risks of participating in unhealthy behaviours and dangerous lifestyles.
Moreover, moral regeneration places a task on schools themselves to emphasise in their life orientation programmes issues of healthy lifestyles, Sexual Education, Peer Education and Basic Counselling.
Dealing efficiently with social ills is a collective responsibility of all of us as government, church leaders, amakhosi and community-based organisations.
Instead of condemning our children, our primary task is to nurture and guide them to adulthood.
Role models like performing stars in television soapies and in sporting fields should take their roles seriously because what they do in public or in private, affects young people with impressionable minds.
The values that role models communicate or display have a deep influence in producing responsible future leaders and decent members of society.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I admit, the times have changed and the roles between children and parents are no longer the same and are sometimes interchangeable.
In today’s society we have to deal with single-parent households and child-headed families because of, for example, the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
But as committed stakeholders in the Moral Regeneration Movement, we are all compelled to support these very same child-headed and single-parent households without discrimination or prejudice and thus give effect to the adage that says, ‘any child is my child’.
Therefore, no child in our country should be denied the opportunity to develop into a wholesome and responsible human being simply because of the misfortunes of the parents.
The focus of community activists, elders and guardians must be to ensure that no boy-child or girl-child is denied education because they have no money for school fees, denied food because the parents are unemployed or victimised because they are defenceless or because they are afraid to speak up.
Similarly, in as much as we emphasise the roles and responsibilities of teachers and parents, it should be instilled in our children that likewise, they also have obligations to fulfil at home, in school and in our communities.
Without doubt, children will act responsibly when they are given responsibilities!
The Charter of Positive Values encourages us to “enhance sound family and community values” and “respect human dignity and equality”.
It is a practical programme of action targeted at building a caring and just society where peace and prosperity for South Africa is the main goal.
As we have demonstrated during the FIFA World Cup and on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, when we aim at a particular goal, we are capable of achieving positive results meant for a lasting common good.
We have it within our individual and collective social fibre to raise our moral standards to acceptable levels.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As government, we remain committed to meeting the five (5) national priorities which are: improving education, improving healthcare, creating decent work, fighting crime and corruption and rural development and land reform.
Such a commitment can only be realised if we all act in unison as government, business, labour, and non-governmental organisations.
We must be able as a society to create decent work for our able-bodied young men and young women.
As the Freedom Charter says, “There Shall be Work and Security”.
Therefore, moral regeneration is about restoring a sense of self-worth to individual families and communities.
We appreciate that as we tackle all these challenges facing our families and communities, we need to rally all and sundry in solidarity and generosity as highlighted in the essence of ubuntu which says:
I am because you are and that you cannot be unless I am.
Let us continue to make moral regeneration a daily practice we live by and implement it throughout the year so that we can produce families and communities based on respect and equality.
(Ngiyabonga nina beSilo!)
I thank you.