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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 87

TimeSummary
31:25One of the main reasons for the painful process we’re undergoing was that South Africans should never make the same mistakes again, but another important reason is that we as a nation should create a new moral order. Apartheid was, to put it mildly, an immoral ideology. It was a violent system of government which denied the majority of people their basic freedom and dignity and granted special privileges to white people. During this time of oppression and the often violent opposition to it the public morality of our people were fundamentally undermined. Politicians and public figures were not accountable. Corruption in public and private life was rife, violence and crime was seen as normal. We have a democracy now with a splendid constitution and a bill of rights, but are we establishing a new morality in South Africa?Full Transcript
32:24This is our call to all South Africans to fan up the moral fibre of our nation. It is a call to artists and musicians and sport persons, to religious leaders and traditional institutions, to intellectuals, to the media and to all those who should give leadership as we establish new symbols and role models. All of us to join hands in a new patriotism, not because the government says so, but because it is our interest to do it.Full Transcript
33:06‘Morality: // …A System Of Conduct Based On Principles Of Right and Wrong. // …To Be Moral Is To Have Ethical Or Virtuous Behaviour That Conforms To Standards Of Right and Wrong.’Full Transcript
33:15South Africa’s political and economic past certainly violated universal standards of right and wrong. 23 months of Truth Commission hearings reaffirmed that the deeds committed in the name of apartheid were unjust, inhumane and immoral. We are now three years into the new order. President Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others have called for the creation of a new morality, but what role has the Truth Commission played in the creation of this new moral order?Full Transcript
33:45I’ve always taken the view that the TRC is a very necessary vehicle, a very necessary instrument to put things in perspective in terms of where we’re coming from. It’s difficult to reflect now on how complete that function was fulfilled by the TRC, also in relation to the question of morality. I think it reminded us of some things.Full Transcript
34:15I think the TRC has helped a great deal in educating people, because no one can say after what we’ve seen on our television screens and heard on our radio and what has happened in an anecdotal way, no one can say we never knew what happened in South Africa. We didn’t know how race was used, not for purposes of keeping standards high, this myth, but race was used as an instrument for privilege and for subjugation and we’ve removed that. And there your ethical code has changed also.Full Transcript
34:49South Africans, specifically referring to white South Africans in many instances have heard of these atrocities for the first time and they would not understand the future or know where to go in the future if they didn’t get that insight. So in that regard it was good. Full Transcript
35:15I think it showed the wrongs of the past and I think the work of the TRC on the line, certain things can’t again be done in the same manner as in the past. People should act in another way, they should show their love in another way and in that way I think the TRC challenged us and challenged people of our church to acknowledge we were wrong and we must alter the way that we act and the way that we speak. And in this way I think it helped us to be part of a new moral society.Full Transcript
36:00As we grapple with the effects of the old moral order while we try to build a new one, we also struggle to understand what this morality is that we are trying to build.Full Transcript
36:11A moral order is reflective of individual and collective approaches to society; that is basically what a moral order is about. How an individual organizes his whole life in an organized community, so there’s political morality, there is sexual morality, there is personal morality.Full Transcript
36:33I grew up under the apartheid system. I was one of the beneficiaries of the apartheid system, because I was born right at that time when the National Party government took over in the late forties. And what I experienced in my young life was of course the benefits of a racially separate society in which mainly the white community benefitted.Full Transcript
37:04I think in the time of apartheid certain groups received certain privileges and was taken away from others. So the moral standard was that if you belonged to a certain group it is good and right for you to have it or to do it, but it was wrong if somebody else did it.Full Transcript
37:26The system of separation I think was the basic core of many of the distortions as far as morality is concerned and double standards or a multiple of standards were applied, depending from which side of the community you came. I mean there was white preferential positions on the one side and prejudices on the other side. And all of those had to be linked into the question of separation; it was part of the segregated society that we lived in. It was part of the immorality of apartheid.Full Transcript
38:11In 1994 we are at the edge of the precipice; we had a country with 300 laws that institutionalized racism in a way, that wasn’t seen since Nazi Germany. When we repealed those laws, we drew away from the edge of that and that through a whole process of transformation we are being able to deal, not successfully still, but we’re only at it for three years.Full Transcript
38:40Building a new moral order is not easy; the first step in this direction was the adoption of a new constitution and a bill of human rights. Yet, we are still a long way from reaching our goals.Full Transcript
38:52One of the good things that have come out in our country, since 1994, is that we can’t do a Pontius Pilate act or washing our hands of things. We can’t. Both our constitutional and legal order is posited on the basis of individual responsibility.Full Transcript
39:10I would say that we are moving, but it is really for me too early to say that we have formed a new morality. We are busy looking at these things. A lot of people are still clinging to the past. A lot of people say, well it is new and everything is new, but there’s not more love and more justice perhaps as in the past.Full Transcript
39:37So in the end, the decencies of ordinary people, the way for example we treat immigrants in South Africa, these are part of a concrete form of morality that I’m interested in; not the vaporising of theologians and all that, but how do ordinary people order their lives that takes into account the need for sensibility, the need for an ethical code that recognizes humanity of other people. I think that’s the main spring for a moral order.Full Transcript
40:14Another very practical example that reminds us of the lack of this moral fibre in our society is what is happening often still in the practical everyday life of South Africa. One example that comes to my mind immediately, if I had to think about it now, is the Vryburg High School example where clearly that moral fibre is non-existent between the communities involved. They’re still living in worlds apart as if nothing has changed over the last few years. They still do it in the same way as ten years or more ago. And what I think is important is that we have to take that example as a lesson and say it can go wrong elsewhere in the country as well unless we work towards getting ourselves together as different communities, as different individuals, as people belonging to the same nation. So the moral fibre is a wide ranging concept in my mind and it has to be addressed by our leaders and by every citizen.Full Transcript
 
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