Minister and Department of Arts and Culture on Moral Regeneration Movement

Arts and Culture

16 March 2010
Chairperson: Rev T Farisani (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on the Department's role regarding the Moral Regeneration Movement. The Minister of Arts and Culture joined the meeting subsequently.

The Minister said that for a number of years the Ministry had had a particular relationship with the Moral Regeneration Movement. In 2009 it had met with the Deputy President and evaluating the impact of the Movement had been discussed, and the Department had started implementing that assessment. It was necessary to work with community leaders, since morality must address the broader society and Government could not 'run with these issues alone'. She agreed with Members that the Committee should invite the Moral Regeneration Movement and its board to a briefing. The Minister explained the role of the Presidency and the Department as the lead department in a matter that concerned several departments. The Minister appreciated the Committee's views. She also agreed to raise with the Department its absence from the Committee's strategic workshop, 15-16 March 2010.

The Committee resolved that it would meet with members of the Moral Regeneration Movement's board and its executives, since they felt that the Department's presentation dealt with structural issues rather than the Movement itself; in the view of one Member, the briefing document's contents were slight on substance to an extent indicative of disrespect to Members, the people whom they represented, and to the Minister herself; moreover, in the view of another Member, the presentation did not justify the travel expenses of the delegation.

A Member said that one needed to ascertain what determined good moral values. Impoverished environments determined a worldview that differed from that of persons born and raised in more fortunate conditions. He did not think the challenge was so much a religious one, but one of environmental, physical, and human needs such as housing. Human Settlements would have a role. The Chairperson called upon the Department to provide a full package of relevant documents so that Members did not have to start from the beginning. Another Member asked how the Movement accommodated the diversity of religions and cultures, the practitioners of some of which oppressed women and children, and asked what stand the Movement took. The Chairperson affirmed that no one was above the law.

Meeting report

Introduction and welcome
The Chairperson welcomed Members, the Department, and observers, and asked all present to introduce themselves. Apologies were received on behalf of Mr Themba Wakashe, Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture. The Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Lulu Xingwana, joined the meeting later.

Briefing on the Moral Regeneration Movement
Dr Mbulelo Jokweni, Chief Director and Acting Deputy Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, apologised profusely for giving Members copies of the presentation only that morning; he admitted that it would have been better for them to have had the opportunity to read the document before the meeting.

Dr Jokweni said that he would give an overview, background information on when the Movement started and how, and details of the specific objectives, the mandate, and the activities of the Movement, and how it was funded. The governance structure included the board of directors and the chief executive officer, and how the Movement was funded. He mentioned the need to highlight the Movement's milestones and current initiatives. He wished to share with the Committee a number of recommendations to Government which were the outcome of a meeting with the Deputy President on 26 January 2010.

Mr Moleleki Ledimo, Acting Chief Director, Arts and Youth Development, Department of Arts and Culture, assisted in giving the presentation.

The Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) was a Section 21 Company, a collective of civic society entities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious bodies, and Government.

It had been initiated in 2003, and since then had received an allocation annually from the National Treasury via the Arts and Culture Department, which disbursed funding through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed with the Movement.

The Movement had positioned itself as a co-ordinating centre for moral renewal activities in South Africa in building an ethical and moral community based on the following tenets: promoting positive values for moral communities through the Charter of Positive Values adopted in July 2008; disseminating information, collating and keeping an audit of moral regeneration programmes; activating the building of congruency between ethical values and behaviour; and being at the centre of collective activism on moral renewal issues.

The Movement’s chief executive officer was Ms Zandile Mdhladhlav and it was governed by a board of directors. Office support was provided by a secretariat, a financial manager, and a communications and marketing officer.

The Movement's activities comprised social dialogues, streamlining the Movement in governmental departments, consolidating partnerships with key stakeholders, adopting the Charter of Positive Values in July 2008, the launch of the month of July as Moral Regeneration Month in July 2009, campaigns to make the public aware of the Charter of Positive Values, and the Movement's Conference held in Gauteng in December 2009.

Besides adopting the Charter of Positive Values in July 2008, and the launch of July as Moral Regeneration Month, in July 2009, the Movement's significant achievements included its presence in all nine provinces.

The Department had embarked on an assessment of the Movement by undertaking an impact study on moral regeneration initiatives across the country. This study had three phases: social impact of moral regeneration initiatives (April to August 2010 with a Cabinet memorandum on research findings in September 2010); a SWOT analysis and opportunities for the growth of moral regeneration (October 2010 to February 2011); and implementation of research (April 2011 onwards).

The Department had begun an assessment process, with reference to the PricewaterhouseCoopers forensic audit of the Movement, together with the Movement, to review the Movement's current governance model. Some governance issues, in terms of King III on governance, were not followed by the Movement, notably, the absence of an audit committee, and the absence of risk management. Also the remuneration scheme and policy for the Movement had not been established and approved by the Board. Furthermore, operating and accounting policies and procedures had not been approved and established by the Board. Correction of these matters would ensure adherence to King III and put in place appropriate measures related to the Movement's monitoring and reporting.

The Movement's recommendations to Government following a meeting held with the Office of the Deputy President on 26 January 2010 were as follows:
▪ the Deputy President was to continue as Patron of the Movement;
▪ the Presidency, Premiers and Mayors were to ensure proper co-ordination of the governmental sector, with visible moral regeneration programmes within departments;
▪ the Cabinet, through Cabinet memoranda, was to be appraised of the Movement's work to ensure mainstreaming its work in Government, and to ensure Cabinet participation in the Movement's activities;
▪ Government, through the Department of Education, was to incorporate the Charter of Positive Values in the Life Skills Programme;
▪ mandatory accounting by all three spheres of Government on all moral regeneration work;
▪ more resources to be allocated to the Movement;
▪ Speakers in the two spheres of Government were to ensure that the Movement's programme formed the core of the legislatures' programmes;
▪ the Movement was to be central to the Public Participation Programme; and
▪ Government was to reaffirm the Charter of Positive Values as the framework for moral regeneration.

Professor A Lotriet (DA) regretted that Members had not received the briefing document in advance. The overview had mentioned significant achievements; but Members had not been told what these were specifically. Secondly, she asked how the missing governance issues remained un-addressed for seven years.

Ms D van der Walt (DA) asked which communities the Movement really addressed in the provinces. It was important to mention that the Movement also addressed rights; she pointed out that there had been a major achievement in language rights the previous day, and that there were so many organisations claiming to promote moral regeneration. She referred to a talk show on the radio station RSG, and asked if any audit had been done to ascertain who really dealt effectively with moral regeneration and whom they reached.

Mr H Maluleka (ANC) asked for more details on the Movement's structures at the provincial level, and on what one could expect from the Movement. He asked if it was just going to teach good behaviour.

The Chairperson said that when the Movement was launched at the Waterkloof air base attended by many people across the whole spectrum of society, the objective was to address categorised areas including corruption, social distortions, and the power of money over principles. It had been 'nicely categorised', and prescriptions had been made. All this was completely lost in this briefing document; it seemed that the foundations and the point of departure had been forgotten. There was concern about creating decent jobs, health, education, crime, corruption, rural development and land reform, but unless it was 'hidden in the nice English' of the briefing document, Members felt that they were reading the document from a remote place such as Mars, since it did not appear to relate to those critical matters to which the Movement had addressed itself at its inception. 

Dr Jokweni replied the Department's major role regarding the Movement was as 'a conduit of funds', but there were a number of activities in which the Movement was involved independently. There might be quite a number of achievements; but the proclaiming of July as Moral Regeneration Month in July 2009 was a major achievement. He pointed out that the Department was aware of Members' concerns with respect to the Movement and had begun an assessment in three stages.

Dr Jokweni said that Mr Ledimo would talk about various activities in the provinces.

Mr Ledimo referred to the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit which examined the Department's relationship to the Movement and issues raised under King III. The Department had then 'flagged' those issues. Based on financial statements that were not tallying, in January 2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded an audit; however, he pointed out that this was not research. The issue was around significant achievements. The Department viewed the Movement as a Section 21 Company. The Department was invited to the Movement's annual general meeting, and had asked it to insert in its strategic plan items of the Department's concern.

Mr Ledimo said that the Department had not wanted to include in the presentation a great deal of detail, but deemed these items significant. The Gauteng branch of the Movement was led by civil society. He read from a paper, which was not given to Members. In the Eastern Cape the Movement was housed at the Office of the Speaker in Nelson Mandela Metro. In the Western Cape it was located in the Office of the Premier, and included in the budget of the human rights directorate. In the Free State it was located in the provincial department of arts and culture. The Department had undertaken a study of moral regeneration initiatives in southern Africa. At this stage the document was with the Movement's board, and the impact study would reflect the board's concerns and not only those of the Department.

The Chairperson objected that nobody had answered his questions or addressed issues raised. The questions of Members of Parliament were not to be ignored.

Mr Ledimo apologised. The critical issues that the Movement was addressing were part of a report to the Department and had not been covered in detail.

The Chairperson asked if the Department had the foundation documents. He asked the Department not to deny Members so many relevant documents including the one from which Mr Ledimo had been reading. If Members had been provided with the foundation documents, it would have been easier for Members and the Department to interact.

Mr Maluleka wanted to know what the Movement was actually doing. He proposed a meeting with the Movement itself. Perceived moral problems had been the raison d'être of the Movement and Government had established the present structure to deal with them. The presentation informed Members about this structure but not about the Movement’s impact on the problems. The Department was not better placed to tell Members about the Movement's achievements than the Movement itself. Only the Moral Regeneration Movement itself could respond. So therefore a meeting of Committee and the Movement's board and executives was essential.

Ms Van der Walt differed slightly from Mr Maluleka. Members surely must know that the Movement was defending morals. It was however the job of religious bodies to defend morals; neither the Government in general nor the Department in particular could control morals. Moreover, Government did not 'have the teeth' for that role; there must be some reconsideration. If the Presidency had initiated the Movement, its budget should come from the Presidency. 

Professor Lotriet said that Members were really frustrated that the Department could not answer their questions. All Members could learn from the Department was that there were structures. However, more detail was needed on the different phases. There appeared to be little co-ordination; she asked what the cost would be.

Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE), whose constituency was in Gauteng, said that he wanted to highlight the ownership of the institution. The role of civil society was unclear in all provinces, especially in Gauteng, and one observed some civil society organisations dragging their feet. It was important for the Movement to exist and be supported by the Government; workshops and dialogue were important, but he had never seen projects, although he did not deny that such might exist.

The Chairperson asked if Members could agree on principal issues: the structural relations that existed currently; the relation between Movement and the Department and the Presidency was what existed at present; the Committee's role was to monitor and do oversight to see whether the Movement was doing its job and whether funds were being used fruitfully and to what extent members of the public were participating. Issues of ubuntu were important. It was important not to be derailed by other issues.

The Minister said that for a number of years the Ministry had had a particular relationship with the Moral Regeneration Movement. In 2009 it had met with the Deputy President and evaluating the impact of the Movement had been discussed, and the Department had started implementing that assessment. She agreed with Mr Maluleka that the Movement should have been present, since it was driving the process and the Department could not go into details of this Section 21 Company. The Movement should have come with its board to address the concerns of Members and the launch of the Charter for Positive Values, which would incorporate those matters identified as the key evils of society. The Presidency was considering a review and would work with religious leaders; there was a committee of religious leaders established by the Presidency and there was a need for co-ordination. There were no parallel structures addressing the same issues. There must be some alignment in this regard, and it was necessary to work with community leaders, since the President had said that morality must address the broader society and Government could not 'run with these issues alone'. She agreed as Minister that the Committee must invite the Moral Regeneration Movement and its board. Most of the work had been done and the reports would be brought to the Committee so that they could be incorporated in the structures and taken to the Presidency.

Mr Ledimo said that the cost of research would be borne by the Department, since its role was broad.

Mr Ledimo said that the Department awaited a reply from the Movement. The Department was examining companies and service providers, but was on a tight schedule. Thereafter the Department could provide an answer.

Mr Maluleka said that one needed to ascertain what the determinants of good moral values were. Impoverished environments determined a worldview that differed from that of persons born and raised in more fortunate environments. He did not think the challenge was so much a religious one, but one of environmental, physical, and human needs such as housing. Human settlements would have a role.

The Chairperson advised Mr Maluleka that he was venturing into content issues which the Committee might well consider in a further workshop. Many Members were new and did not have access to all the documents, so he called upon the Department to provide a full package of relevant documents so that Members did not have to 'reinvent the wheel'.

The Minister indicated some agreement with Mr Maluleka but explained the role of the Presidency and the Department as the lead department in a matter that concerned several departments.

Ms J Tshivhase (ANC) requested more clarity. She observed that some religions oppressed women and children, while some cultures did not respect women. She asked how the Movement accommodated such religions and cultures. What stand did the Movement take? Her questions were not intended to undermine the Department.

The Chairperson said that it was necessary to charter the way forward. It was agreed that for future meetings with entities and the Department that the Committee should receive all documents well in advance. Moreover, the Committee had agreed in its 15-16 March 2010 workshop that budget documents should be received at least ten days in advance of the vote. He appealed to the Minister and the Department to take the Committee seriously. To deny the Committee documents in advance ‘paralysed’ Members. The Committee took strong exception to last minute presentations. He trusted that the Committee would not have to discuss this matter again. The Committee agreed that it needed more discussion on those issues. The Moral Regeneration Movement and its board of directors would be called and would form part of the Committee's discussions. The Committee would discuss dates to make sure all key people were present. The Committee was pleased that the Department had discussed the Movement and had consulted an auditor. It was now critical that the Committee followed up the results of the investigation since wherever public funds were expended there must be proper accounting. Grey areas must be cleared. These were not personal issues. The Committee was happy that the Department was dealing with issues of alignment, the provincial reports, and the issue of civil society. No culture was allowed to practice illegal things. One explained the cultural aspect ' in the dock'. There were gender laws that protected society, and it was necessary to observe the parameters of the law in practising religion and culture. All were subject to the Constitution and no one was above the law. The Committee had higher expectations of its next meeting on the Moral Regeneration Movement.

The Chairperson expressed Members’ great disappointment that the Department had not attended the 15-16 March 2010 strategic workshop, and his dismay that he was even denied the mobile telephone number of the Director-General. There had not been even any responses to his messages. He had sent a letter of displeasure. A strategic workshop was of critical importance in the Committee's programme. Members expected an explanation of what had happened.

Mr Maluleka said that to avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditure the Department could have sent the information in the presentation [by post or email]. It would have been much more effective to have had a meeting with the Moral Regeneration Movement itself. The meeting, as it had transpired, had been somewhat unnecessary. He asked if it would have been useful to call the Department to talk about the Pan South African Languages Board (PanSALB) and other entities. What was really important for Members was to know one was making an impact on the problems addressed, rather than be briefed on the structure. At this meeting the Committee had people flying to Cape Town from afar, but Members had not heard enough about the Movement's work.

Ms Van der Walt complained of the disrespect shown by the Department; its delegates had travelled all the way from Pretoria only to present Members the barest minimum of content. This was an insult to Members and their constituents. It was also disrespectful to the Minister.
The Chairperson said that he could not agree more. The Moral Regeneration Movement played an important role and more should have been said about its activities.

The Minister explained that she had not received the Committee's message. On Monday, she had been in Pretoria, and had been informed that the Director-General was attending a meeting in Cape Town. She would raise the issue with him. She had been unaware on 16 March that the Department was needed at the workshop. The Ministry and the Director-General were inaugurating the Council of the Robben Island Museum. She assured Members that the Ministry and Department took Parliament very seriously. All parliamentary concerns were taken on board. With regard to allegations of irresponsibility, the Ministry had responded to them. Some officials had been dismissed. The Committee had a right to ask the Moral Regeneration Movement and its board to meet with it, and account for themselves. She would convey the Committee's concerns to the Director-General.

Ms Tshivhase said that intellect was a gift to humankind from God. The process of comment and discussion made us wise. People were the focus of Members’ concern. Our cultures were recognised. When people acted together, it could make things happen. She affirmed that Members were working together.

Adoption of minutes
The Committee briefly considered and adopted outstanding minutes.

The meeting was adjourned.


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