Leadership Learning and Development Program for South Africans in the Democratic Alliance Young Leaders Program Class of 2021

Apply for the 2021 DA Young Leaders Program to participate in a one-year political leadership learning and development program for highly motivated South African nationals. 

Selected participants will be granted the platform to broaden their political knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills in this part-time program. 

Application Deadline: Monday, 14 September 2020.


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Here are the benefits selected individuals in the program get to enjoy:

  • All costs directly related to the YLP will be covered by the DA.
  • Access to an entire set of training and tools necessary to evolve into a knowledgeable, articulate, emotionally intelligent, and resilient leader who can one day lead the DA at a national level.
  • Access to a high level of interaction with senior leaders in the DA.
  • Networking opportunities with peers in the program  
  • Discussions on personal leadership style and development needs


The YLP is open solely to

  • South African citizens aged between 18 to 35
  • Applicants with a track-record of leadership excellence
  • Applicants with a mutual interest in the DA’s vision 
  • Applicants with an evidenced record of  being motivated leaders 
  • Applicants committed to making a difference in South Africa. 


  • Applicants who have previously applied for the program unsuccessfully may apply. 
  • Applicants must either be living in South Africa or, if they are temporarily abroad, be returning to South Africa in time for the start of the program. 
  • The program does not cover international traveling costs.
  • Recipients of any other DA leadership program can apply. 
  • The YLP is a part-time course, allowing participants to continue with their regular occupation while on the program. 
  • The Program is rigorous and time-consuming in terms of its requirements and assignments. 
  • Preference will be granted to applicants with political involvement. Others with no prior political involvement will also be strongly considered. 
  • On commencement of the Young Leaders Program, participants will be required to conceptualize their own Leadership Project, and to then execute this project during the Program year. 
  • The program is for young leaders who possess many of the following characteristics:
    • An ideological disposition to the DA’s vision of One Nation with One Future, rooted in 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
    • Instances and proof of having taken initiative, stepping outside typical roles to start something new
    • The ability to intelligently argue and reason
    • Passion, drive, and confidence
    • An original drive to be actively involved in politics in the future
    • A high level of self-awareness, maturity and emotional intelligence
    • Involvement in the DA.

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Application Instructions

There’s no application fee required to apply. 

Within 2 days, you will receive an email confirming your application as complete or incomplete via the email address you provided.

  • Submit a complete application package consisting of:
    • A completed Application Form
    • A 90-Second video clip.
    • One Letter of reference from someone very familiar with you. It must- 
      • be written by someone who can attest to your character, leadership, and provide insights into why you should be selected for the program.
      • include the referee’s name, occupation, contact information, and how he/she knows you.
      • highlight your leadership capabilities with examples your referee has observed.
      • must not exceed 1 page in length.
      • not be written by family members.
      • must have been written in the past 3 months. Ensure it’s dated clearly.
      • Must be written in English.
      • Must be written in PDF or a good quality JPG file format.
    • Click here to apply 
  • In case you’re unable to access the application form, or do not receive an application confirmation after applying, for other issues and questions, contact the Young Leaders via Email: youngleaders@da.org.za 

About the Democratic Alliance Young Leaders Program

 The Democratic Alliance (DA) Young Leaders Programme (YLP) is a political leadership learning and development program for individuals who share the DA’s values. 

The program caters to highly motivated individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in politics or the public service, towards the development of their nation. 

In addition, Young Leaders are innovators and dreamers who are already making a difference where they are.

This unique opportunity to expand one’s influence, self-awareness, and emotional maturity, in order to become dynamic, resilient leaders who can tackle politics on the national stage will be granted to individuals who aspire to greater heights, rise to new challenges, and are willing to learn more.

The DA Young Leaders Program is deeply rooted in the DA’s vision for South Africa. 

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Key Dates and Order of Program

Applications for the DA Young Leaders Program Class of 2021 will close at 4:00pm on Monday, 14th September 2020.

The Program will run part-time for a year from February to November 2021.

All Applications will be reviewed by the Young Leaders Office. 

 Applicants who have successfully submitted a complete application package will be required to complete a 2-hour long virtual test.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview. 

The decision of the selection panel for each phase of the selection and recruitment process is final. no feedback will be granted on the selection or non-selection of candidates.

During the year, the entire Class of Young Leaders will meet for five weekend-long retreats set to take place from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.

Retreat dates will be provided at the beginning of the program year and attendance of all retreats are mandatory to graduate from the Program. Before each retreat, participants will be notified of travel arrangements. 

The retreats will take place in the Western Cape or Gauteng. The DA will make all travel arrangements for participants who reside outside of these provinces to travel to and from each retreat.

In between retreats, Young Leaders will dedicate time out of standard work or study hours to attend online workshops, complete program assignments, meet with mentors and leadership coaches, as well as develop and manage a leadership project in their communities. 

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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