From national civilian service to land reform – here’s what the DA wants to change in South Africa

The Democratic Alliance launched its election manifesto at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday, calling for change in the country plagued by high unemployment and rampant corruption.

Leader of the DA Mmusi Maimane, said that the political party has a plan – “an agenda for reform”.

“This manifesto is a blueprint to build a government that works for all. A government to which only the best people will be appointed, and a government that is prepared to work with anyone who shares our vision for South Africa,” he said.

“So let me tell you what this South Africa looks like to me. For starters, it works. It is a country where citizens get up and go to work, and where the government works for its citizens.

“I have a dream of putting a job in every home,” Maimane said.


The politician said that the party will  rebuild the embattled economy by maximising the sectors that are key to job creation – sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

“We will pass the Jobs Act which will offer tax incentives for people to come and open businesses that create jobs,” he said.

Under the DA, the country would introduce a year of voluntary national civilian service, “which will create a bridge between school and the world of work, and offer school leavers valuable work experience”.

The party wants young South Africans who cannot gain access to tertiary education to provide a service to the country or their communities.

“These will be in an area of the public sector where there is a clearly defined need – such as the police force, education and healthcare”, it said.

Land Ownership

Regarding the land debate, Maimane said: “I also dream of making all South Africans the owners of their homes, with full title deed. I’m not interested in a system where people must live at the mercy of the state on land owned by the state.

“We don’t just oppose the amending of the Constitution for the sake of it. We want to ensure that Section 25 is protected. This matter will end up in court.”

“We have shown we can deliver land reform within the Constitution. And where there is contestation we can settle compensation through our legal system, and not by politicians. We must never enslave our people at the mercy of the state,” he said.

Maimane said he wanted people to own their land and to own their houses. “It allows you to borrow money against the property, it allows you to pass it on to your children in your will, and it allows you to sell it, if you so choose.

“I also want South Africans to have choice, which is why we will introduce a housing voucher which people can either use to build their home or as a down-payment on a house.”

Police Service

Under the DA, the police service will be a well-trained, properly equipped and highly motivated crime-fighting unit, Maimane said. “Only the best professionals will lead it and the days of deployed cadres filling top positions will be gone for good.

“I want the provinces to have more control over the police. This will allow us to build stronger partnerships between Metro and Provincial police so that we can better fight crime,” he said.

The political party would also implement a ‘Rural Safety Unit’ to protect farms.


Maimane promised that South Africa would be “energy-secure and sustainable” under the DA, thanks to advances in renewable energy and an independent power producer.

“I want to build an ICT infrastructure that will allow all our citizens to become digital citizens,” the DA lead said of changes in technology.


Maimane said that under the DA, “if you are a corrupt politician, you will spend at least 15 years in jail”.

“I want to create a new, independent and fully-resourced Anti-Corruption Unit, staffed by both specialist prosecutors and investigators.”

Maimane said that tenders will be awarded out in the open, and no politician will do business with the state..

“If we sell off the SOE’s that don’t work, if we eradicate corruption, if we slash our cabinet in half, if we stop wasting money on unnecessary luxuries, then we can build the country of our dreams,” Maimane said.

Read: EFF promises to nationalise all land, banks and mines

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From national civilian service to land reform – here’s what the DA wants to change in South Africa