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Fifteen-year-old Innocent Marubini was the toast of the city on Wednesday night, 29 October when he was elected Junior Mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

A pupil at Vuwani Secondary School in Tshiawelo, Soweto, Marubini heads up a 10-member executive council, an equivalent of the Johannesburg Mayoral Committee.

The Johannesburg Students’ Council was modelled around the Johannesburg Metro Council, complete with its own mayoral committee, known as the Students’ Executive Council.

The election of the junior mayor and his executive was a culmination of a voting process involving secondary schools across all the City’s seven regions. Wednesday night’s inauguration of the students’ executive council was the seventh since the programme was launched in 2007.

The Johannesburg Students’ Council was set up to give the City a forum to interact with the youth, the city’s future leaders.

In his acceptance speech, Marubini welcomed the opportunity given to the youth.

“We are aware of the work ahead of us. We promise to work tirelessly to tackle the challenges facing the youth in our areas. We will be going to the council chamber (Johannesburg) but our ultimate goal is to go to Parliament and see for ourselves what is it they are doing there,” Marubini said.

A statement read on behalf of the Speaker of Council, Cllr Constance Bapela, said since its launch, the Johannesburg Students’ Council had surpassed “all expectations” about what it could do. She said what was gratifying was the fact that most schools in Johannesburg had embraced the initiative.

One of the City’s objectives is to train the youth for future leadership roles and to instil a sense of community responsibility.

Members of the students’ council are also exposed to a variety of life-changing programmes locally and abroad. They get the opportunity to attend seminars and meet their counterparts to share experiences.

Most of those who have been on the programme have gone on to do well in their educational careers. One of the former junior mayors, Palesa Motene, 23, is currently doing her final year LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. She also belongs to a chapter of the Black Lawyers Association on campus. 

The other members of the Johannesburg Students’ Executive Council inaugurated on Wednesday night are Deputy Mayor Nangomso Nduna (Topaz Secondary School, Lenasia), Speaker Branden Molotsi (Sir John Adamson Secondary, Ridgeway), Deputy Speaker Linda Nene (Kensington Secondary School), Mamakiri Letswalo (Marlboro Gardens, Sandton), Prianne Chetty (Rand Girls High School, Braamfontein), Jonty Ngwekazi (King Edward V11 School, Houghton), Azraa Moyideen (Sir John Adamson, Ridgeway), Chandile Beetge (President High School, Ridgeway) and Aaliyah Charles (Victory House Private School, Florida)