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ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
24 August 2005
MORAL REGENERATION MOVEMENT: BRIEFING
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ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
Delegates from the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) briefed the Committee on their work to build an ethical and moral community and promote positive values. The government had agreed to support the movement and MRM had launched provincial structures in most provinces. They stressed that the MRM was not an organisation but a movement, launched on 18 April 2002 by former Deputy President Jacob Zuma. The MRM’s Charter Campaign would gain input from the community before the Charter was launched in October or November 2005.
The Committee expressed their support for the Moral Regeneration Movement and the importance of social cohesion based on key values. The three branches of government (legislature, executive and judiciary) would need to be consulted. The Committee was concerned that poverty and lack of understanding could be causes of immoral behaviour. Members expressed the need for television shows that promoted healthier values in society.
Ms Zandile Mdhladhla, MRM CEO and Boardmembers Professor D Mosama, Reverend C Mayson and Ms T Mampane, briefed the Committee on their work to build an ethical community and promote positive values.
Professor D Mosama, MRM Boardmember, stressed that the MRM was not an organisation but a movement, launched on 18 April 2002 by former Deputy President Jacob Zuma. It aimed to attract people from all walks of life to develop a shared vision and establish a moral community. MRM had been developed to provide guidelines on how members of the community should conduct themselves, embracing respect, justice, integrity, honesty and compassion within an African context. MRM sought to establish the means by which the community could examine its morals and provide a lens to measure performance.
Reverend C Mayson, MRM Boardmember, then briefed the Committee on how MRM came into being. Under President Mandela, meetings had been held with leaders of religious and political groups. A ‘moral summit’ had been held to agree on a way forward. Although the leaders had wanted to take the ideas from the summit back to their constituencies, this had not happened. It had proved difficult to translate personal morals into community morals, and few people had started new initiatives.
MRM had been developed as a movement, not an organisation, because it focused on co-ordinating different people towards moral regeneration, without being responsible for morals in South Africa. It was a movement from the bottom up, not the top down. The government had given money for the MRM launch and to support the movement. The money was channelled through the Department of Arts and Culture but it was not solely their responsibility. The permanent staff compliment of MRM had deliberately been kept small.
At the launch, people from all parts of society had talked about moral regeneration. Delegates had been grouped in their provinces to encourage them to work together after the launch. Problems had arisen because delegates wanted to lead, not participate. The media had been invited as participants.
Ms Z Mdhladhla, CEO, then reported on progress and challenges. MRM had been set up as a Section 21 Company with a Board of Directors. The staff of MRM had been kept small
MRM would mainly deal with building the family, developing moral leadership, combating crime and corruption, promoting values in education, religion, dealing with riches and poverty, ensuring positive images in the media, and focusing on youth. Morals were key to the sustenance of South Africa’s democracy and social cohesion. Part of the challenge was challenging tribalism and racism.
The Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal had operating provincial structures. These would initiate government-led programmes and provide strategic support and direction. In municipalities and metropolitan areas (Metros), MRM would ensure implementation of provincial campaigns and develop municipal-led campaigns. The ward level would be the ultimate vehicle of implementation.
MRM would practise issue-based networking, instead of partnerships with no purpose. MRM would encourage information and knowledge sharing, and provide coordination where resources were available. They would also encourage sector-inclusive participation.
The Charter Campaign would be a tool for dialogue and consensus building. MRM would identify areas which were degenerating and decide on action to be taken. The charter would be called the ‘Charter of Positive Values’. It would provide a framework for moral and ethical objectives for all South Africans. After collecting and consolidating data, the Charter Launch Campaign would be adopted in October or November 2005.
MRM would need to resist political or religious control, promote diversity and encourage people from all walks of life to become ambassadors to broaden the understanding of morality. The challenge was multifaceted and complex but MRM aimed for South Africa to address these challenges within five years.
Mr Tsenoli (ANC) noted that there were many public representatives and the three branches of government would need to be addressed. Public representatives would need to know what moral regeneration was and how it could affect their constituents. Resolutions from summits should be implemented.
The Committee agreed that the past values of helping and respecting others had declined among the youth.
Ms N Mbombo (ANC) asked if South Africans know about morals. Mr M Sonto understood that African spirituality rejected racism, greed, sexism and envy. He asked how the media subverted these ideals. Referring to the television show Yizo Yizo, he said that many shows did not promote the morals of an African society.
Ms D Van der Walt (DA) said the MRM should build patriotism, and also work with the Linguistics and Cultural Commission. Besides political differences, the Committee Members had the same aims - moral regeneration was ‘apolitical’. The issue of morality belonged with the Arts and Culture Committee because the Minister of Arts and Culture had spoken about social cohesion. Ms Van der Walt asked about the role of municipalities because they were already overloaded with problems of service delivery. A copy of the MRM Charter would be helpful to the Committee. Ms Van der Walt asked how crime and corruption could be overcome when it involved a political leader.
Ms M Mdlalose (IFP) said she would like to assist with the MRM programme in her Newcastle home area. She asked how constituents could come forward to speak about issues without being judged.
Mr H. Maluleka (ANC) said the Committee needed to become actively involved. There were many factors that determined whether a society acted morally, such as access to employment and housing. There were cases where government workers were undermined, for example in the School Feeding programme where some teachers and principals stole and sold children’s food. Every sector of society should be mobilised. There were serious challenges to moral regeneration at municipal level.
Mr Tsenoli said surroundings could dissuade people from improper behaviour. Parliament could increase mobilisation without being the leadership. Tribalism was about competing for access to resources.
Mr Mosama said it would be important to ‘go back to the roots’, to encourage values where communities helped those in need and communicated about taboos.
Ms T Mampane, MRM Boardmember, said it would be important to align what was going on in the organisation and what was shown on television.
Reverend Mayson said when issues were raised in Parliament, MPs often sought to advantage themselves or their Party, race, tribe or family. People should look at the moral value to the community as a whole. It was a challenge to create a society where it was not necessary for people to be poor.
Ms Z Mdhladhle said it was important to get support from the community and MRM should give out as much information as possible. MRM hoped to distribute this information to all Parliamentarians, using the Arts and Culture Portfolio Committee as a vehicle.
The meeting was adjourned.
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