Compulsory military service not a substitute for creating jobs - DA


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has indicated that it will oppose media speculations that government is planning on re-introducing compulsory military service for the country’s youth.

In an interview with CityPress last month, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, stated that government reacted in haste when it chose to abolish national service in 1994, adding that he would support it being brought back.

“Naturally, we would actually say that every youth person may serve an X number of years or months in the army to be trained because the army is the most equipped structure that could deal with young people in a structured way,” the paper quoted Mantashe as saying.

“Actually, the best engineering capacity in the country is in the army. So that’s what we should be thinking about”.

Speaking in a statement, DA National Spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the claims amounted to “goal displacement” as the military cannot be expected to act as a method of creating jobs.

“Looking to the military in an attempt to fix our country’s youth unemployment crisis is a resounding admission by the ANC government that its economic policies simply cannot create real employment for the millions of young South Africans who find themselves unemployed,” van Damme said.

“There is absolutely no space for forced military service in a constitutional democracy that values the freedom of movement, conscience, thought, and opinion”.

She also added that the implementation would raise questions about the likelihood of training an unemployed youth to handle a firearm, before releasing him back into society “where job opportunities are limited”.

“We will support any policy that aims to do so. However, such policies should not infringe on the right of our young people to choose lives they can value. We therefore will not support forced military service,” she said.