Democratic Alliance (DA) Young Leaders Programme 2020 for young South Africans

Application Deadline: September 9th 2019

The DA Young Leaders Programme is deeply grounded in the DA’s vision for South Africa. The Programme seeks to develop and grow our country’s future leaders responsible for upholding this vision of One Nation with One Future, and our core values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity in politics and government.

In the DA’s South Africa, all individuals will have the opportunity to live a life that they value. This South Africa is dynamic and innovative, with a growing, inclusive economy and capable government which defends the Constitution and ensures equal opportunity for all – regardless of where they are born, how they look, or any other arbitrary characteristic.

The Young Leaders Programme is an intensive, year-long, part-time political leadership development course, known around the world as the gold standard in political development. The Programme strives to give passionate, young South African leaders the opportunity to develop themselves to their full potential, irrespective of their background.


The DA’s Young Leaders Programme (YLP) is a political leadership learning and development programme for South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 who align themselves with the DA’s values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity. Participants of the programme are highly motivated individuals, interested in pursuing a career in politics or the public service, with the aim of creating One Nation with One Future.

Over the course of one year, participants of the programme will be given the chance to broaden their political knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills. Participants will also get to know themselves, and their personal leadership style and development needs a lot better during dedicated sessions on leadership and personal development. In addition, Young Leaders will be required to conceptualise and undertake a leadership project, giving them a unique opportunity to expand their influence, self-awareness and emotional maturity, so that they can become dynamic, resilient leaders who are able to tackle politics on the national stage.


Young Leaders are individuals who are already making a difference where they are. They are known for the values and principles they live by, and are committed to not only bringing about change in their communities, but to also growing and developing their own potential. Our Young Leaders are able to align their own personal value set to the DA’s liberal values, and are passionate about working hard towards a better South Africa, considering politics and government as a serious career option for their own future.

Young Leaders are innovators and dreamers. They are never complacent or content with how things are; they are always aspiring to greater heights, rising to new challenges, and willing to learn more.

Young Leaders typically demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  • A personal ideological alignment to the DA’s vision of One Nation with One Future, rooted in our values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity;
  • A high level of interest in, and knowledge about, South African politics and current affairs;
  • An excellent understanding of the DA’s principles and policies;
  • A demonstrable leadership track record;
  • Examples and evidence of having taken initiative, stepping outside normal roles to start something new;
  • The ability to argue and reason well;
  • Passion, drive and confidence;
  • An authentic motivation to be actively involved in politics in future;
  • A high level of self-awareness, maturity and emotional intelligence;
  • Involvement in the DA.


During the course of the year, Young Leaders meet for five weekend-long retreats that usually take place from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. These retreats are the backbone of the programme and are carefully designed to give participants the opportunity to not only learn from a range of political experts during interactive sessions, but to also learn from one another. Retreat dates are provided at the beginning of the programme year and attendance of entire retreats are mandatory in order to graduate from the Programme.

Application Process:

  • Applicants will receive an automatic system email confirming they submitted a form online.
  • Applications are reviewed by the Young Leaders Office and applicants will receive a confirmation email within 48 working hours, indicating whether their application package is complete or incomplete. If you do not receive this confirmation, please contact the office.
  • All applicants who have successfully submitted a complete application package will be required to complete a 2-hour long online test in September 2019.
  • The invitation to the online test will be sent to applicants on Thursday, 12 September 2019. This email will contain all the details on how to access the test
  • Assessment test opens on Thursday, 12 September and will close on Monday, 16  September 2019.
  • Short listing of applications
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview. Selection Process continues.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Young Leaders Programme 2020



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