Peace and Security

Promoting a Cooperative Vision for South Africa

A delegation from the Universal Peace Federation had an audience with the recently elected President of the African National Congress, Mr. Jacob Zuma, on January 14, 2008, at the ANC headquarters, Lithuli House, in downtown Johannesburg.

The delegation congratulated Mr. Zuma for his election in December as the President of the ruling party. The purpose of the meeting was to formally introduce the UPF’s vision and activities.

A number of areas of cooperation were suggested in tackling the problems of crime, drugs, and delinquency in schools and society at large as well as the problem of poverty.

I gave him a copy of an article I wrote last year entitled, "South Africa at the Crossroads," when the country was in a middle of a total national industrial action. Most of the civil servants were on strike, seeking an increase of 10 percent in wages. The founder of UPF, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, advises developing countries not to follow the economic model of the developed countries which is based on selfish individualism. When new technologies are cheaper than workers, many workers may be replaced, worsening the phenomenon of unemployment. In this age of globalization and advanced technological development, it is difficult for developing countries to rely on wage hikes – resources being limited – to stop the problem of brain drain. The World Institute for Development and Peace, a UPF affiliate, has innovative ideas that can help South Africa solve the problem of poverty.

Rev. Moruti Ledwaba, Secretary General of UPF-South Africa, explained about UPF’s Middle East Peace Initiative, which is bringing Palestinians and Israelis from the grass-roots together, is creating a better understanding and a “heart-to-heart” connection in order to unite all the children of Abraham. He stressed the fact that religious and spiritual beliefs are often deep-rooted in most conflicts; therefore, political, economic, or military solutions are not sufficient for bringing about lasting peace. Thus, one of the innovations of UPF, which can complement UN efforts, is the emphasis on God-centered and spiritual solutions to problems. One of UPF’s strategies is to tap into the spiritual and moral values of the world religions to resolve conflicts.

Mr. Zuma said, “I am more and more disappointed with religious leaders. They are passive and do not stand in the forefront of the fight against social ills and the moral decay in South Africa.”

We responded that UPF’s mission is to educate religious leaders, help them recover their moral authority, and inspire them to work cooperatively in dealing with and solving social problems.

South Africa is plagued by many problems, including HIV/AIDS, rape, crime, drugs, poverty, and abuse of women and children. The new leadership of the ANC believes that more needs to be done to tackle these problems.

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