Is National Service going to become compulsory in South Africa?

29 July 2015

The South African government is considering introducing military conscription (forced military service) for South Africa’s youth.


Given that ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has recently publicly supported the re-introduction of military conscription, it is possible that forced conscription will become government policy.

Such a policy is a clear example of goal displacement. The purpose of the military is to defend our borders, not to attempt to create jobs.

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

Military conscription was outlawed in 1994 when Apartheid ended. There is absolutely no space for forced military service in a constitutional democracy that values the freedom of movement, conscience, thought, and opinion.

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“It is also questionable whether it is wise to train young unemployed people how to use a gun and then release them into a society where job opportunities are limited, said Phumzile van Damme, the DA National Spokesperson.

“The DA is committed to creating a South Africa where all of the country’s young people have access to opportunities and jobs.

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,” added van Damme.