Source: The Presidency
Title: Zuma: National Conference of the Moral Regeneration
Opening Address by Deputy President Jacob Zuma to the First
National Conference of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Eskom
Conference Centre, Midrand
Dr Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture
Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration
Movement and Executive Mayor of Tshwane
Ms Zandile Mdhladhla, CEO of the Moral Regeneration Movement
MPs and MPLs
Representatives of all sectors,
On 18 April 2002, South Africans from all walks of life,
representing various sectors and formations, converged on the
Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria, to seek solutions to problems
of moral decay, and to commonly work to build an ethical
The gathering, which launched the Moral Regeneration Movement, was
one of the most inspiring contributions to the efforts of building
a new South African nation.
We were angry then. A number of despicable acts had taken place,
such as the molestation of two babies in the Northern Cape and
Gauteng, each less than nine months old. We all agreed that
something needed to be done urgently to build a caring, humane
After a lot of work of establishing the Movement throughout the
country, we are now in a position to come together to reflect on
what we have achieved since then, and to look at the road
I am sure there is no need for me to emphasise how important this
conference is, as you are all aware.
We look at this conference with great optimism, as it should chart
the way forward, and produce a clear strategy that will locate the
MRM at the centre of all moral renewal programmes and activities in
the country. The movement should be in a position to unite all
initiatives, and monitor progress we are making as various sectors.
We believe it is well-placed to play that role.
The MRM was founded on the principles that South Africans are
highly moral beings, know the difference between right and wrong,
and are appalled by the symptoms of moral decay, which sometimes
occur in our country. These include the blatant disregard for the
sanctity of human life, the abuse of women and children, crime,
substance abuse, lack of respect for the next person and their
property and so forth.
The delegates at the founding conference agreed that we needed a
national movement that would bring together this common vision, and
which would work to promote positive values enshrined in our
A lot has been achieved already in the attempts to establish the
structures of MRM. There are working committees in all provinces
and some municipalities; there is an MRM coordinating team within
government; a national framework for programme implementation was
developed, the MRM has an office and governance and systems have
been put in place.
Public dialogue and debate on moral issues have increased;
issue-based partnerships have been forged on many fronts and
sector-based moral regeneration initiatives continue to increase in
many parts of the country.
For its part, government as a constituent sector of the movement,
remains committed to mainstream moral renewal issues in all its
programmes and processes.
More than that, government has prioritised these issues in its
programme of action for the next five years. Much of its work on
moral regeneration will revolve around the social cohesion
programme run through the Social Cluster.
You would be aware of the various government programmes with a
moral renewal theme.
These include amongst many others:
a. The Values in Education programme run in schools to promote
positive values in the Constitution,
b. The rehabilitation of prisoners,
c. Promotion of sports and recreation as well as Choral
competitions and various activities of the Departments of Arts and
Culture and Sport and Recreation,
a. The Safer Schools campaigns of the South African Police
b. Programmes promoting the Family as an institution which is the
rock, upon which communities are founded, run by the Department of
Social Development, including its social security programmes.
We can even argue to be taking the campaign beyond our borders into
the continent, if you look at our involvement in the regeneration
of the African continent.
I must emphasise that while government plays its role, it
continuously works with civil society in partnership, as we need to
work together in confronting these challenges. We are pleased with
the response of civil society.
Various initiatives are in place, in the area of fighting the abuse
of women and children, fighting substance abuse, anti-crime
initiatives such as those of Business against Crime, and many other
projects throughout the country.
We are therefore indeed a country at work regarding moral renewal.
This conference will only serve to take this work to an even higher
As you deliberate in the Commissions tomorrow, bear in mind the
fact that this partnership needs to be strengthened and
consolidated, for it to achieve its mission of working to enhance
all the positive values that are enshrined in the
It should promote the right to life, human dignity, equality,
justice, the rights of women and children, freedom from
discrimination, and all other freedoms that are guaranteed in our
We trust that the Moral Charter that is being compiled will feature
all these values, and provide an invaluable national ethical
Colleagues, tomorrow is World AIDS Day. The whole world will
rededicate itself to the fight against AIDS and to do more each
year to make an impact against the syndrome. We will be doing the
same at the national event in Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, while
many activities are to take place in many other parts of the
country, including this very conference.
There is a lot that the movement can contribute to the fight
against AIDS, especially with regards to promoting a change in
behaviour, which would greatly boost the campaign of reducing new
Compatriots, I cannot conclude this address without referring to
the need for the MRM to participate actively in the campaign of 16
days of Activism against the abuse of women and children.
The campaign fits in squarely with the objectives of the Movement.
We are pleased at the high levels of interest in this campaign
nationally, which indicates that the majority of our people are
opposed to such criminal behaviour.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me emphasise that the MRM is a valuable
nation building initiative.
The issues that the movement advocates affect all South Africans,
regardless of political affiliation, gender, race, culture and
other forms of differentiation. This is one national programme
which brings us all together, to eradicate moral decay, and build
an ethical society.
Let us build it, and make it a stronger advocacy movement which is
more visible and more active in the lives of South Africans.
I wish the conference all the best. We look forward to your
resolutions, which will definitely take the MRM on a new vigorous
path, in pursuit of the goal of an ethical and caring
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
30 November 2004
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