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

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

Deadline: September 9, 2019

Applications for the Democracy Alliance (DA) Young Leaders Programme 2020 are now open. 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.

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.

Program Details

The YLP is carefully designed to develop an entire set of competencies in order to grow a pool of knowledgeable, articulate, emotionally intelligent and resilient leaders who can one day lead the DA at a national level. These competencies include a wide range of practical and philosophical knowledge of politics, critical thinking and communication skills, as well as a high level of self-awareness and resilience over the course of one year. Young Leaders will also enjoy a high level of interaction with senior leaders 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.

Before each retreat, participants will be notified of travel arrangements. As retreats generally take place in the Western Cape or Gauteng, the DA will make all travel arrangements for Young Leaders who live outside of these provinces so that they can travel to and from each retreat.


  • All costs directly related to the YLP are covered by the DA. The Young Leaders Programme does not cover international traveling costs.


  • Open to all young South African citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, with a track-record of leadership excellence;
  • These applicants must share the DA’s vision and must have proven themselves to be passionate leaders set on making a difference in South Africa;
  • Participants 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 programme.

Young Leaders should typically demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  • A personal ideological alignment to the DA’s vision of One Nation with One Future, rooted in their 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.


To apply for the Young Leaders Programme, the following needs to be submitted by September 9, 2019 at 5pm:

  • The online application form completed in full including the 2 short essay questions
  • A video recording of maximum 90 seconds, to be uploaded via the application form
  • One reference letter to be uploaded via the application form

For more information, visit DA Young Leaders Programme.