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Learners canvass for council vote
24 June 2009

Elections loom for the Joburg Student Council executive

Elections are looming for members of the Johannesburg Student Council executive, and campaigning is heating up.

JOHANNESBURG'S young councillors are bracing themselves for the Student Council election, to be held on 27 June.

The Johannesburg Student Council
The Johannesburg Student Council

The 78 members of the Johannesburg Student Council will slug it out for the executive's 10 positions, including that of junior mayor and junior Speaker and their respective deputies.

Council manager, Yusuf Lachporia, said the election was expected to be an exciting affair, as intensive campaigning would precede the casting of ballots. "We said to the students that the most boring thing they could do was allow them to make speeches," he said.

"We then agreed that the nominees must be creative in their campaigns to get others to listen to them."

Campaigners will devise platforms and styles of delivering their messages. "This is all part of the development of the students to see how creative they can be," Lachporia added.

There was already a buzz among the students and canvassing through means such as SMS and email begun as early as last month.

The Independent Electoral Commission in Joburg will administer the election, which will be run like a national vote.

An intensive battle is expected over the position of junior Speaker, as 16 council members are vying for the position; 10 councillors are running for the mayoral position, a category that is also expected to churn out the most creative campaigning.



"The Speaker has lots of power and the students have seen that with the outgoing council," Lachporia said. "The junior mayor's position is ceremonial and he or she gets invited to most events in the city."

In addition, the two elected to these positions will automatically qualify for a student exchange programme to Hamburg in Germany later this year. Nominees with the second-highest number of votes will become their deputies.

Positions for chairpersons of the six committees will also be contested, with the health committee looking set for rigorous canvassing as a dozen members have been nominated.

The other committees are community development, transport, safety, youth and environment. "We try to link all the committees to what is happening in the City council," said Lachporia.

The committees will comprise 15 members and will play an instrumental role in deciding which projects the council should undertake.

The Johannesburg Student Council is an initiative of the Office of the Speaker. Some 131 Grade 11 schoolchildren were selected from schools across Joburg for the council, and will serve for a single term. The Office also runs the Johannesburg Children's Council.

"Our vision is that we want to create better citizens who are informed about how the City works," said Lachporia. "We want to develop the students."

The election will be held at the Kloofendal Nature Reserve, in the west of Johannesburg.


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Last Updated on 19 February 2013