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SA: Lindiwe Zulu: Address by Minister for Social Development, On the Occasion of the Engagement between Government and Inter-Faith Leader, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni (26/09/2023)


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SA: Lindiwe Zulu: Address by Minister for Social Development, On the Occasion of the Engagement between Government and Inter-Faith Leader, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni (26/09/2023)

Minister for Social Development Lindiwe Zulu
Minister for Social Development Lindiwe Zulu

26th September 2023


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His Excellency, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa Paul Mashatile;
Honourable Cabinet Ministers Present;
Premier of Gauteng Province, Honourable Panyaza Lesufi;
Honourable Members of Executive Councils of different provinces Present;
Respective Your Holinesses and Leaders of all the Faiths Represented Here;
Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen; and Fellow South Africans.
May the grace, peace, blessings, and the boundless light, love and life be with you.

Today’s government-interfaith sector engagement is founded on the common motive force that binds South Africa’s heritage and future together: namely, the comprehensive well-being of the people. South Africa is its people, and her people need our attention.
Yes, our mutual interests in the people is the strongest shared factor between us. As much as this is historically true, our common purpose in the people also underlies our positive outlook of, and spirit with which we continue on this path of co-creating and growing, the people’s future prospects.

Please allow me to paraphrase the ancient Roman poet who is known as Virgil in saying: Blessed are those who know the causes of things, and have trampled all fears beneath their feet.

In other words, in the same way that the teachings of the great faiths that are under this roof have been doing for the people and communities over millennia (and among which are traditional African spirituality, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) this engagement puts at its centre the need to develop the resilience and prosperity of families owing to the fact that the people are members of families.

When we partner to eradicate the causes of the social ills that are plaguing families, these families will truly grow to be resilient. From this intentional development of resilience in families, they certainly will increase their prospects and further strengthen their immediate communities’ common prosperity.

In other words, when we all channel our energies, efforts and programmes towards undoing social ills at the level of society’s primary socialisation institution — namely, families — we are socially reconstructing our common recovery. Together with the interfaith community, our government is recommitting to trample beneath our proverbial feet the causes of fears, anxieties, uneasiness, worries, insecurity and disempowerment that accompany social ills that are undermining the family.

Among the social ills that today’s intentional engagement can tackle decisively at the level of families, and thereby progressively creating the conditions of resilience and prosperity are:
8.1  father-less families;
8.2  children’s vulnerability;
8.3  substance abuse;
8.4  gender-based violence and femicide;
8.5  hunger and malnutrition;
8.6  poor health and educational outcomes; and
8.7  poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Let us agree on, together, doing one thing right — that is, giving rise to resilient and prosperous families — and doing that right. Places of worship are not only members of the communities wherein they operate by virtue of their proximity, their speciality — namely, faith — is the substance that will strengthen the values upon which the currently unfolding moral regeneration and social reconstruction of the people’s lives towards dignity and prosperous recovery will be reaffirmed.

Consequently, when this time-tested partnership targets the implementation of Social Development programmes in families — your worshippers and congregants — we will together be adding tangible value to the people’s lives and thereby help give rise to stronger communities.

This partnership is the incarnation and embodiment of things hoped for and the revitalisation of our mutual reassurances towards the realisation of things that the people hope to encounter in their lives.

As it is mentioned in Matthew 25: 13 [I quote] So stay awake, because you don’t know the day or the hour. [Close quote]. These are the day and hour for the reinforcement of the family- and community-centred partnership between government and the inter-faith sector.

As I conclude, I am assured that today’s robust deliberations with and insights from the inter-faith sector will concretise our common conviction, and foster practical family- beneficial collaborations in communities. Resilience, dignity and prosperity are families’ basic asks.

Together we can help them realise these.

Thank you.



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