Cru­cial role of so­cial co­he­sion, moral­ity spelt out

Daily News - - NATION - KUBEN CHETTY

Re­gional Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

PREMIER Wil­lies Mchunu yes­ter­day told a con­fer­ence on moral re­gen­er­a­tion and so­cial co­he­sion that it should not be for­got­ten that it was Nel­son Man­dela who led the dis­cus­sion on the is­sue as a way to cre­ate a bet­ter coun­try.

Mchunu was speak­ing at the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing of the prov­ince’s So­cial Co­he­sion and Moral Re­gen­er­a­tion Coun­cil in Dur­ban.

The aim of the coun­cil is to di­rectly deal with marginal­i­sa­tion, ex­clu­sion, so­cials ills and po­lit­i­cal in­tol­er­ance within the prov­ince of KwaZulu-Natal.

The 81-mem­ber coun­cil is made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from civil so­ci­ety, busi­ness, academia, labour and other stake­hold­ers to en­sure de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of pro­grammes and to deal with is­sues at hand.

The fifth an­niver­sary of Man­dela’s death was marked across the coun­try on Wed­nes­day.

“We have come a long way since the first demo­cratic elec­tions of 1994, when it seemed the demo­cratic or­der – while it her­alded free­dom from op­pres­sion – had also ush­ered in the worst forms of so­cial ills and dis­or­der in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“It was in this con­text that Man­dela in­tro­duced the Moral Re­gen­er­a­tion Move­ment, which he termed the ‘RDP of the Soul’,” Mchunu said.

He said Man­dela’s vi­sion was to re­sus­ci­tate moral­ity among South Africans, and ad­dress the so­cial ills af­flict­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

“It led to the for­ma­tion of the moral re­gen­er­a­tion move­ment. Prin­ci­pally, we re­alised back then, that moral re­gen­er­a­tion was not the pre­serve of the faith-based com­mu­ni­ties alone, but of every ci­ti­zen and sec­tor in our prov­ince and coun­try.”

Mchunu said the KZN Pro­vin­cial Growth and De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy (PGDS) en­vis­aged a prov­ince that “by 2035 will be pros­per­ous, with a healthy, se­cure and skilled pop­u­la­tion, liv­ing in dig­nity and har­mony, act­ing as a gate­way to Africa and the world”.

He said the le­gacy of colo­nial­ism, apartheid, pa­tri­archy and cap­i­tal­ism had con­trib­uted to the ero­sion of so­cial co­he­sion, the de­struc­tion of so­cial cap­i­tal and to con­di­tions of so­cial in­jus­tice.

“We have noted with con­sid­er­able con­cern that in spite of 24 years of democ­racy, and ex­ten­sive in­vest­ment in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life of all our peo­ple through so­cial ser­vices, ac­cess and eq­uity in­ter­ven­tions to ef­fect trans­for­ma­tion and a so­cial wel­fare safety net, our so­cial sta­bil­ity is still at risk and be­ing un­der­mined by di­vi­sion and so­cial ills.

“In this re­gard, we are yet to form a pro­vin­cial and na­tional iden­tity to which we will all sub­scribe. The fact is that we can­not be united if we re­main di­vided along lines of race, colour, lan­guage, re­li­gion, or any other be­lief.”

Bishop Ru­bin Phillip, of the Angli­can Dio­cese of Natal and deputy chair­per­son of the coun­cil, said South Africans needed to re­mem­ber that not too long ago, the coun­try was a place of op­pres­sion, phys­i­cally, ge­o­graph­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally.

“We haven’t even ar­rived at that point when we can claim to be com­pletely free. We need to forge our­selves into a car­ing, kind com­mu­nity and not just one fo­cused on self-en­rich­ment.

“This is where I think the so­cial co­he­sion and moral gen­er­a­tion project can play a cru­cial role.”

Wil­lies Mchunu

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