Address by Minister Mashatile at North West Provincial Summit on Moral Regeneration and Social Cohesion
His Excellency, the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Kgalema Mothlante
The Premier of the North West Province, Mmme Thandi Modise
The Patron of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa
The MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, MEC Tebogo Modise and other MECs here present
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Mayors and Councilors, here present
Members of the Judiciary
Representatives of civil society formations
Representatives of the labour movement
Leaders of faith based organizations
Leaders of business
All our honoured guests
Fellow South Africans:
It is just over a year since we convened our country’s first ever National Summit on Social Cohesion and Nation Building.
Symbolically, we convened this Summit in Kliptown; the birth place of the Freedom Charter, which is the basis of our Constitution and our democratic society.
Consistent with the spirit of the Freedom Charter, at the Summit as South Africans from all walks of life we recommitted ourselves to building a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it; Black and White, united in our diversity.
Fellow South Africans, we also meet here today towards the end of the Moral Regeneration Month; a month we continue to dedicate to the goal of building an inclusive, more caring and humane South African society.
We must use the Moral Regeneration Month and beyond as a time of national reflection; where as a nation we reflect on the path we have travelled and the challenges we still face in not only being good neighbours to one another but also good citizens of our country.
We must use this period also to recommit ourselves to building moral communities, grounded in positive values such as respect for human dignity, equality, concern for others, peaceful coexistence as well as the upholding of honesty, integrity and loyalty.
These values are contained in the Charter of Positive Values which we must, at all times, work towards entrenching in our society.
Fellow South Africans, it is fitting that the North West has taken the important decision to host this Provincial Summit on Social Cohesion, during Moral Regeneration Month.
This we say because the task of building moral communities is and integral part of promoting a socially inclusive society that is caring and prosperous.
This task is also at the center of our ongoing efforts towards nation building and promoting national healing.
To us therefore ensuring moral regeneration and promoting social cohesion are two sides of a coin. They go hand in hand!
We applaud the North West for being the first province to convene a Provincial Summit in line with the resolutions of our National Summit on Social Cohesion.
We once more urge all other provinces to convene their own Provincial Summits.
As the Department of Arts and Culture, we will continue to work with provinces and municipalities as we facilitate community conversations on social cohesion.
To date we have facilitated a total of hundred and ten community conversations throughout the country.
Our ultimate goal with these conversations is to provide a platform for South Africans to continuously engage with one another on what defines the South African nation, and what needs to be done to build the kind of society we can all be proud of.
These dialogues are also informed by the reality that; as South Africans we have on many occasions proved ourselves to be a nation that thrives on finding solutions to difficult problems through dialogue, discussion and reaching out to one another.
Indeed it is because as South Africans we were prepared to dialogue among ourselves, even as the road ahead appeared long, bleak and winding, that we were able to produce what is fondly referred to as the “South African miracle”.
Fellow South Africans, we must continue on this path as we build our nation.
Allow me to reminding this important gathering of some of the key resolution of the National Summit on Social Cohesion and Nation Building.
At that Summit we committed ourselves to working together to;
Build a caring and proud society based on shared values and a vision informed by principles of, amongst others, Ubuntu, redress, transformation and social solidarity;
Implement the recommendations of the National Development Plan Vision 2030;
Ensure that nation-building and social cohesion underpins all national, provincial and local government strategic priorities;
Promote and preserve all indigenous languages;
Accelerate change by improving the quality of life of all people, in particular the youth, women and people with disabilities.
Ensure that the state continues to build capacity to drive socio-economic transformation;
Continue to fight any form of discrimination, respect human dignity and equality, promote freedom, democracy and the rule of law as well as enhance sound family and community values;
Expand existing national, heritage and other awards and honours to recognize individuals, organizations and communities that contribute to social cohesion and nation building.
The Summit also resolved to convene a national social cohesion report back and monitoring summit in 2014, to coincide with the historic occasion of the twentieth anniversary of our freedom and democracy.
We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made in implementing some of the resolutions of our National Summit.
These include the reality that for the first time in our country we have a Social Cohesion Strategy that has been adopted by Cabinet.
Equally, we convened more than forty community conversations with a primary goal of reporting back on the Summit resolutions.
We have submitted the Summit Report, the declaration and resolutions to His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma.
We have appointed fifty six Advocates for Social Cohesion, who were also introduced to the President.
Our Advocates for Social Cohesion are men, women and young people who not only epitomize the principles of what makes a great South African, but also are leaders in their various sectors.
We will continue to work with our Advocates in driving our Programme of Action on Social Cohesion.
Fellow South Africans, I am highlighting all of these points to indicate the road we have travelled thus far in bringing to life the outcomes of our National Summit and most importantly to highlight the tasks that lie ahead for all of us.
I am confident that this Provincial Summit will take our achievement to a higher level.
In particular, we expect from this Summit that it will allow the people of the North West to take stock of how far they are with the implementation of the National Summit resolutions.
This Summit must also begin to work on detailed plans and programmes that will see the people of the North West working together towards a socially inclusive province; that truly belongs to all who live in it; Black and White united in their diversity.
This Summit must also find responses to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality; which in many ways are stumbling blocks to the attainment of social cohesion.
We also expect this Summit to strengthen ongoing community conversations in this province.
We must do all of these things fully aware that building social cohesion is not only a collective effort but also an ongoing task.
It takes a concerted effort by all of us working together.
We are confident that gathered here at this Provincial Summit, over the next two days, are men and women determined to put their collective shoulder to the wheel towards the national effort to build a truly united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa; a proud and caring nation; the kind of society envisaged in the Freedom Charter.
Like we said in the declaration of our National Summit, I am confident that at the end of this Provincial Summit you will echo these words;
“We commit ourselves and all stakeholders of society represented at this Summit, to work together to realise the ideals enshrined in our Constitution, and assert that our organisations and institutions will strive to contribute all we can to realise our common national objective to attain a decent and improving quality of life for all, in a society united in its diversity.”
Fellow South Africans, next year in 2014 our country will mark twenty years of liberation.
This historic occasion presents an opportunity for us as South Africans, to reflect on how our freedom and democracy was achieved.
It is also an opportunity to look back and celebrate the progress we have made since 1994 to deepen the gains of our freedom and democracy.
Going forward it is an opportunity for us to work together to implement the National Development Plan Vision 2030 as our nation’s long term vision and a basis for collective action and partnerships across society.
Fellow South Africans despite the many challenges that we still face there is a lot to celebrate. The South Africa of today is indeed better that the South African of 1994.
Massive progress has been made in areas such as strengthening institutions that support our democracy, improving social and economic infrastructure, expanding and democratizing service provision, doing away with apartheid spatial planning and expanding the social security net.
Indeed the South Africa of today is a country at peace with itself and the world.
Working together with our Advocates for Social Cohesion, we have launched a year long build up programme that will culminate in the Freedom Day celebrations on April 27 next year.
As we implement this build-up programme we will be equally be advancing some of the key resolutions of our National Summit on Social Cohesion.
These include acknowledging unsung heroes and heroines in our communities.
It also includes mobilising South Africans behind the National Development Plan Vision 2030, as an articulation of our prosperous and shared future.
Our build-up programme also includes identifying twenty big achievements that we collectively own as South Africans as a way of building patriotism and national pride.
We look forward to working with all provinces, including the North West, as we roll out our build-up programme towards the celebrations of twenty years of liberation.
We look forward to the outcomes of this Summit. Let the dialogue continue.
I wish you successful deliberations.