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JOBURG STUDENT COUNCIL DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY FROM UNETHICAL LEADERSHIP

“Councillors, including government employees and members of the public mismanaging community funds should be held accountable. Such misdeed not only hinder community development but also lead to violence, finger-pointing and even tragic consequences. Poor people always suffer and remain poor with the snail-pace development in their areas.”

That is how the City of Johannesburg’s Student Council mayor, Cllr Arabile Maphiri, kicked off proceeding discussions recently at Mc Auley House School in Parktown.

The Student Council, also known as Junior Council, has student representation from 45 private and public schools across the City of Joburg to encourage learner participation the civic event. 

The discussion was based on three pivotal concepts: anti-corruption, ethical leadership, and active citizenry. The topics stem from one of the student council core mandates, to instil awareness and interest in the affairs of local government.

Community participation helps youth become empathetic citizens who could potentially continue similar work when they become adults. Student Council gives them the opportunity to give back to their communities, develop leadership skills, learn the importance of helping and gain work experience.

Maphiri emphasised the need for accountability and transparency particularly in the townships where councillor would be found participating in corruption activities with the contractors that are appointed by Council to provide services in the community, resulting in the projects being incomplete or paused due to missing or lack of funds that the project was initially budgeted for.

He also underscored the significance of community self-reliance. Instead of solely relying on the government for basic services like open space cleaning. Communities should actively contribute to improving their own areas and prevent littering.

Unemployment was identified as a contributing factor to crime and violence, including looting.  The discussion emphasized the need for proactive reporting of criminal activities and taking steps to address unemployment issues in the community.

Another student, Natalie Strydom, condemned unethical leaders who are not exemplary to the youth. She urged the political leadership to play a positive role model for the youth and community.

The students unanimously agreed on the importance of taking an active interest in community activities. They encouraged looking out for one another, providing support through donations of food and blankets to those in need reminding their peers about the significance of the democracy that previous generation fought for to establish.  They further urged all students to exercise their democratic right by participating in the upcoming national and provincial elections in 2024.

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