In his speech, addressing thousands of people, Motlanthe called on South Africans to anchor their values and morals in peace, human solidarity and selflessness. Motlanthe said the life of the Prophet (PBUH) whom he described as one of the greatest influences in the world – serves as an example on how to conduct daily life. "Over the last 400 years many leaders came here as free men or slaves who became the founding fathers of Islam in South Africa, like Sheik Yusuf of Batavia. Their teachings of Islam and the message of Muhammad (PBUH) shaped the Muslim community of SA as supporters and fighters against tyranny and oppression in any form."
“Today I am honoured in addressing the descendants of these great SA Muslims and thank the Muslim community for the contribution you have made in shaping the democratic society of SA, but it is a contribution you have to continue making on a daily basis," he urged.
Motlanthe spoke out against, what he calls the rampant lust for the accumulation of wealth without social responsibility or taking care of the poor. He stressed that in a liberated SA, Muslims have complete freedom of religion in all aspects of life. "Religious freedom is guaranteed constitutionally and needs to be protected as it was a hard won freedom. The Muslim community must unite with other communities and work for a better life for all, as that was the essence of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad," he said.
He added, “So when you teach your children today of the life of the Prophet (PBUH), also be sure to teach them of the life of those who upheld the values he taught. This will shape their present contribution to the development of our country. Although the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was unlettered, he emphasized the importance of education since education has a liberating effect on the minds of people and their ability to function in society. He was even willing to free prisoners of war if they educated kids to read and write."
Meanwhile DA Leader Helen Zille who also attended the event said in trying to understanding a diverse city, she had taken time to read up much on Islam and Muslims. "If you want to understand the city and province you live in, you must first understand the cultures, religions and traditions of all its people, especially if we are building one nation with one future. So apart from the seven doors to Islam, the book I read said among the various attributes the Quran recommends, the following essential attitudes deserve very special mention,:
These were attentiveness, intention, striving and gratitude. "Attentiveness means looking out for the well-being of others. We call it Ubuntu or compassion for others. The second is intention – doing the right thing for the right reason. Thirdly, is striving, the belief that all of life is a struggle – with our own baser instincts, against evil…the belief that through faith, by focusing on the One God, we can make progress in our family, community and country.
"Fourthly, is gratitude – based on the believe that all things positive flow from God who is beneficent. It also means that those who are most blessed will share their gifts with others."
Montlanthe's sentiments were echoed by Cape Town's executive mayor. Patricia de Lille, also praised the Prophet (PBUH), whom she said, raised above the limitations of poverty and oppression to head not only a religion, but a civilization. "He said the highest expression of faith is when you love for humanity what you love for yourself. These altruistic words echo the golden rules proclaimed by Moses and Jesus. It is also the spirit of Ubuntu reflected in the gathering here today and is linked to the compassionate value of mutual respect for our common humanity."