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Junior councillors elect executive
30 June 2009

Joburg's Student Council 2009

The Joburg Student Council has elected its 10-member executive, lead by junior mayor Stephanie van Straten.

STEPHANIE van Straten, a Grade 11 learner at Beaulieu College in Kyalami, has wanted to become Johannesburg's junior mayor since the first time she attended a meeting of the Student Council.

Newly elected: Joburg Student Council mayor Stephanie van Straten
Newly elected: Joburg Student Council mayor Stephanie van Straten

And now her dreams have come true; she occupies the highest position in the Johannesburg Student Council executive, leading another nine junior councillors.

"I am delighted to have an opportunity to lead this incredible youth project," Van Straten said after being elected. "I really wanted to be [junior] mayor."

The city's junior councillors travelled to the Kloofendal Nature Reserve, in the west of Joburg, to elect their executive council on Saturday, 27 June, a day that was marked by excitement.

In an election that was overseen by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), more than 130 members of the junior council chose their leaders. In all, 10 members were elected to the executive, a body that will drive council projects.

James McLaren of St Stithian's College, who is popular among his peers for his views on general topics, was elected Speaker. Noluthando Malaza and Phumlani Nyamathe are respectively deputy mayor and deputy Speaker.

Zuzile Pondo is the new chairperson of the transport committee. "I feel great about being elected and I'm ready to start working," said Pondo, who hails from Sedibeng and is a pupil at the National School of Arts (NSA) in Braamfontein.

Ayla Hoogervorst took the lead in the environment portfolio. The learner from Beaulieu College convincingly illustrated her interests and knowledge on the environment during electioneering, and many had expected her to be elected to lead the committee.

"Being elected is very important to me as it allows me to expand my passion, which is the environment," she said.

Deputy mayor Noluthando Malaza
Deputy mayor Noluthando Malaza

Mogamat Jardine, a student from Westbury High School, was elected chairperson of the safety portfolio. During his campaign Jardine told voters he was aware of crime patterns as he was from a crime-ridden area.

Tumelo Sekhokoane, an energetic young man, leads the community development team. "We should educate people on taking care of our communities," he said.

Sabeenah Mahomed was elected to lead the health portfolio. The committees will be made of councillors whose role will be to undertake projects that are aimed at transforming the lives of Joburg residents. They will also adopt individual projects.

The Joburg Student Council was project-driven, the manager in the City's Office of the speaker, Kureish Isaacs, reminded the learners. "Our aim is to give you skills, [ranging] from financial management to project management."



Driving into the nature reserve on election day, one was greeted by campaign posters. The candidates had spent some time setting up a band of placards urging members to vote them into the executive.

Each candidate was challenged to attract the other councillors to listen to their speeches - they were all given a platform to deliver one-minute speeches - but it was on the field that they were able to canvass productively.

"This is an open market and you've got to sell yourself," said Rafick Charles, a Johannesburg IEC official, before their campaigns began in earnest.

Nine candidates were running for mayor. Van Straten campaigned on a ticket of gaining recognition for the Student Council. "I believe we need to be heard in the Johannesburg community," she told her listeners. "We need to raise funds and go into hospitals and orphanages."

Election day for the Joburg Student Council
Election day for the Joburg Student Council

Another, Telisha Mogano, a well-spoken teenager, got the voters to listen to her. "I am confident that as the youth of today we can fire up ourselves and inspire everybody," she told those who had gathered to hear her speak.



Mogano quoted American President Barack Obama, saying: "Change I will bring. Change we need."

Mpho Lebete, who was also running for mayor, spoke about transforming the lives of the poor. "I would like to get all children off the streets. We have a privilege of going to school, but there's a child who does not know anything about maths."

Most of the candidates made significant use of the one-minute speech-delivering platform; some dropped witty speeches and others gained recognition by entertaining the crowd.

"My dream is to make Joburg a world-class city. A baton has been passed on to us," punted Zuko Khoza, another mayoral candidate.

"I want to revolutionise everything. It is time we take the Student Council to the next level," said Mona Morienyane, from NSA. Morienyane was running for Speaker, against 15 other junior councillors.

The Midvaal Local Municipality junior council as on hand to monitor the election.

"We have come to exchange our ideas and to learn from the Joburg Student Council," said Midvaal Speaker Ron Smit, who had come with the member of the mayoral council or finance, corporate services and human resources, Pat Hutcheson, and eight other junior councillors. Midvaal's junior mayor, Mkhuseli Radebe, and junior Speaker, Charles Demborsky, were among them.


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Last Updated on 19 February 2013