Dee Mokwatlo

Dee Mokwatlo

The upsurge of xenophobic conflict that threatens to engulf the entire country must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Not only is the violence claiming lives, damaging property and causing physical injuries, it is also encouraging children to steal, loot and attack innocent people as a way of life. The Moral Regeneration Movement [MRM] believes that the issue of xenophobia is more complex than meets the eye. For some people violent attacks against foreign nationals is perpetrated by people who are uneducated, young, criminal inclined, lazy and afro-phobic. If hatred or fear of foreigners especially from Africa is the main reason for the attacks, how come hundreds of professionals, business leaders, academics, health workers, and researchers from Africa have never been attacked in suburbs? The pigmentation of our fellow Africans cannot be the main reason for victimising them. Social researchers have discovered the deep-seated reasons for the xenophobia are poverty, unemployment, and social deprivation, the scramble for scarce resources and to a lesser extent criminality, amongst others. It is also true that foreigners tend to display a higher work ethic purely to survive not because they biologically so inclined on foreign soil. Is the government or our home affairs in our country and foreign national doing enough to combat the issue we facing and are we as citizens doing enough to assist home affairs in eradicating the issue? And how? MRM suggests a two-pronged strategy: The immediate challenge is to restore and maintain the security of residents in the affected areas and to proactively extinguish the fires before they explode. Government departments led by Home Affairs must make our porous borders more watertight; as far as it’s humanely possible. An important element is also to tighten up the procedure of immigration and to exercise zero-tolerance against corrupt officials so that thousands of illegal immigrants don’t find it easy to get a South African citizenship or travel documents. MRM suggests that experienced interdisciplinary mediation organisations, interfaith leadership and generally neutral people must drive long-term solution. Through its Charter of Positive Values, the MRM can make a valuable and permanent contribution. Linked to this is the need for a national campaign to promote values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, respect for human dignity, fairness and love for Africa and its entire people. The reaction of the international community through the xenophobic attack is extremely worrying. It means that SA must redouble its effort to normalise the situation in order to regain the confidence of the international community in our country. The Moral Regeneration Movement believes that the problem is everybody’s business. With our much-cherished philosophy of Ubuntu, together we can overcome this scourge. ONE CAN ONLY SIGH, “CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY”
From 1998 till 2001, Tata Nelson Mandela consulted broadly what he called ”the RDP of the Soul“ which culminated in the Launch of the Moral Regeneration Movement in April 2002. I listened carefully to the State of the Nation Address and few State of the Provincial Addresses and was very much worried that our leaders seem to be shifting away from Nelson Mandela of “Creating an Ethical and Moral Society” grounded on the Spirit of Ubuntu. I therefore took time to reflect on what we called, in 2002, ”The Nation’s Voice on the Moral Crisis facing our Country” in order to convince myself as to why some of our leaders seem to be abundening Tata Nelson Mandela’s dream and actually his own Project. I want to remind South Africans of the 8 problems identified during the launch of the Moral Regeneration; which are still more relevant to date as expressed in 2002, viz; 1. The Family: we still are experiencing the breakdown of family life and the weakening of family structures as the primary agent of socialization. The family is the major tool for the nurturing of sound ethics, and behavioural and social values, that need to be strengthened in order to play its role effectively. Much more still needs to be done to transform the family. This should include drawing on the impetus of the African Renaissance to revisit and restructure African Spirituality and values in family life, to put emphasis on the notion that “my child is your child, and my parent is your parent“, and to promote the values of love, tolerance, peace and trust. 2. Crime and Corruption: this is currently a more serious challenge than it was in 2002. Maybe its because most issues are brought to light. The cause of crime and corruption range from disrespect for life, selfishness, nepotism and group pressure to lack of patriotism. Therefore there is a need to mobilize community participation to break the cycle of crime and corruption and whistle blowers MUST at all times be protected. 3. Riches and Poverty: unquestionably, poverty is seen to be a serious threat to moral regeneration. This does not mean that the poor are very bad, for often the poorest people display deep moral integrity. It is the growing gap between the rich and the poor that is immoral. All factors contributing to our moral crisis are interwoven. The greed and self- centredness of some at the expense of others, the struggle and often failure of small traders and entrepreneurs to make a living, the fight of capital from the country, all impact on the living conditions of people, forcing them to take measures just to put food on the table. The notion of the rich getting more richer, and the poor more poorer has not been addressed since 2002. 4. Education: the education system in our country inherited structures that were inherently immoral, designed to enhance the education of one race group and diminish the opportunities of others. It is taking and will take, enormous efforts to redress the imbalances. We are currently sitting with other serious challenges to what we had in the past, viz; 4.1.1 Lack of discipline by many of our children in schools. 4.1.2 Lack of proper infrastructure for quality learning and teaching. 4.1.3 Pass progress as designed by the Department of Basic Education, eg. The 30 pass 86, and the emphasis that no learner must repeat twice in a grade. 4.1.4 Political interference and involvement in the education of our children. 4.1.5 Learner Teacher Ratio in many of our rural schools. 4.1.6 Insufficient knowledge content by many of our educators. 4.1.7 Our schools curricula need some realignment. 5. The Youth: in 2002 we all agreed that contemporary society discourages young people in many ways. They are discouraged by the lack of role modeling by their parents and elders in their communities, they are discouraged by the poor morale of their teachers, they are discouraged by the limited prospects they have of finding jobs. This coupled with peer pressure, has led to an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, the proliferation of teenage pregnancies, the very real threat of contracting HIV/AIDS, and a general loss of respect for the dignity of life. 6. The Media: the media in vital in conveying the message of moral regeneration. It has the potential for influencing ideas and values in a profound way. For this reason, the media ownership and direction needs to be transparent and accountable, and journalists should be well and truly committed to honesty and integrity in their profession. The Media should emphasise stories that promote transformation and the alleviation of poverty, and profile persons of integrity as role models for our youth. There should be far greater local content in our television programmes. 7. Religion: religious groups should be less bent on promoting themselves and their structures and more responsive to a growing, deeply felt need among people for spirituality. This would enable faith communities to contribute to the RDP of the soul. 8. Leadership: leaders are perceived as role models and should therefore be persons of integrity, and good examples, who set the standards of morality, These will definitely include our public representatives. Things we hear and see in our Parliament, need so much to be desired. What are our children learning from the conduct of our Parliamentarians. The absence of ethical leadership is threat in our country and a growing concern which civil society organizations must tackle asap. Now the question remains, have we achieved all the above to a point were we can abundan our responsibility in building an ethical and moral society? Or are we a community so angry with itself such that we don’t want to face the realities of live before us? Everyone of us is important and can be an agent for change and Moral Renewal in our own small spaces. Let’s all join hands in support for Moral Renewal in our communities. For more information contact me at 082 926 3047 &/ email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Prepared by; Selaelo Nkube (in my personal capacity) as Spokesperson for the South African Council of Churches-Limpopo and a member of the Board for the Moral Regeneration Movement (RSA).
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 08:36

MRM celebrates youth month

2019 marks the 43rd anniversary of the June 16, 1976 youth uprising, where young people were protesting unjust policies implemented by the apartheid government. At the launch of MRM in 2002, at the Waterkloof air base, delegates from all 9 provinces identified youth as one of the pillars that MRM should focus on. The youth are the ones who bear the brunt of moral decay. They are often perceived as agents of immoral behaviour or helpless victims who need some external intervention. They themselves decry the lack of role models and opportunities for right living. Development of ethical leadership in students, is a process of transformation that requires able leaders to take it forward. Student leaders are and should be perceived as role models to their fellow students and should therefore be persons of integrity, and good examples, who themselves continually aspire to set the standard for ethical and values driven leadership. It is against this background that the Moral Regeneration Movement has embarked on a campaign to have conversation with student leaders in institutions of higher learning throughout the country. The purpose of these conversations which will be in a summit version is to address the following issues amongst others: o Violent students protest which end up in the destruction of property of the institution o Abuse of women in institutions of higher learning o Abuse of alcohol and drugs in campuses o Development of ethical student leaders

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