The Moral Regeneration Summit, which begins on April 18 in Pretoria, will create a dynamic broad-based movement that will affirm the dignity of people in South Africa, Arts and Culture Minister Dr Ben Ngubane said.
The Summit grew out of a debate late last year on the alarming incidence of child rapes and abuse in the country, and Ngubane said it would encourage the response of every sector in the society to such anti-social acts.
The Summit would find strategies which could help reconstruct social values and facilitate a mass movement which would support the government-civil society initiative in planning an effective campaign for the moral renewal.
The aim of the Moral Regeneration Movement, one of the national priority programmes of government for this year, was to create a confident community with a strong moral fibre, and to revive the spirit of ubuntu, he said. Representatives from every sector of society in every province will take part in the deliberations. Their main focus will be on empowering local communities to strengthen moral and spiritual life.
Ngubane said government’s efforts to rejuvenate the moral fibre of society were build around the values in the Constitution, particularly the values of dignity, equality, freedom and security of the people enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
But for these values to have real meaning to ordinary people in their everyday lives, they had to be actively taught in institutions that functioned properly, not institutions that were broken or dysfunctional. Government’s main role in this strategy was therefore is to provide support to these institutions, such as schools and health centres, which had the ability to pass on these values.
The Batho Pele (people first) principles on Public Service delivery and the Vukuzenzele and Letsema initiatives were part of ongoing efforts to entrench new value systems. Their central theme emphasized partnerships of government and society and evoked a spirit of volunteerism and civic responsibility.
Other potential initiatives included strengthening the role of the family; using sports, art and culture as agents of moral renewal, and supporting religious and community initiatives. There were also interventions to be made in the area of prisons, immigration and labour.
It is expected that the Summit will give rise to a national programme of action.
The Summit will be attended by representatives of various national and provincial departments, traditional leaders, business and labour organisations, religious groups, arts and culture institutions, media, public auditors and professional bodies that include legal, medical and educational groups.