Your view: SAA ban on white cadets

Even though South African Airways has announced the lifting of a ban on applications by whites for the cadet pilot programme and extended the application date, most News24 readers seem unconvinced of the value of this "too little, too late" decision.

According to Rapport, the ban was lifted on Friday after trade union Solidarity sent SAA a letter from its lawyers, urging it to drop its quota system for cadets.

The airline's website had been changed so that applications from white men would not automatically be rejected, according to Fikile Thabethe, head of the airline's legal department.

SAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba told Beeld the move was meant to bring pilot demographics in line with the country's. He told Rapport that 85% of SAA's pilots were white, and, of these, 91% were men.

The closing date for applications to the cadet programme had been extended from August 17 to August 31, to allow other whites to apply, as Solidarity had demanded

What readers say:

It was about damn time! We can't continue to allow for 'rules' that divide the country on racial lines. How are we to grow in unity? - Bheki Khumalo

Boycott! It's just for the show

"Still never flying SAA again. If they can be so reckless with their policies on race, what else are they wreckless with? Maintenance?" - HalfLoaf

"Although they've 'corrected' this in their website, it remains to be seen how many white applicants they accept... They might simply discard all white applications anyway." - Brett Macdonald

"Too little too late. I will never fly SAA again Off to the UK in December but certainly not with SAA. I know when I am not wanted so I will leave SAA to its Chosen Race. There are around 45 million of them so SAA should be just fine catering for it's own kind right?" - Giovanni Izar

"I dont think that Bail outs will save this Airline now. Anyone who uses this, is condoning Racism." - Larry Piggott

"Lets not be fooled by this 'sudden' change of heart. If commentators feel strongly against this policy which will clearly exclude some members of South African society, memebers that have the ability to achieve great things in this career field,then l say they must actively pursue a consumer boycott of SAA. I was going to use them in December but will now rather fly with another airline. Time to put our money where our mouths are!" - Nick Athinodorou

"Hopefully white South Africans will take their hard-earned cash to Kulula and 1 Time until it's proven this racist policy has indeed been changed. Not based on a "statement" by SAA, but rather when South Africans get to see a photo of a representative group of White, Colored, Indian and Black cadets. This attempt by SAA at covering up after being caught in an overtly racist hiring policy must not be allowed to be forgotten. It's disgusting on every level." - Mark Lohr

Publicise application process and results

"OK, But now SAA must publish a list of all applications and then who they accepted... this will show if they removed the policy n total" - OpenMind

"Yes - now let Zuma institute a proper Commission of Inquiry to: 
1. Determine over what period SAA have been processing applications and appointments on a racial basis
2. Determine compensation and redress for those discriminated against 
3. Determine legal steps to be taken against management who instituted the racial practises in SAA
4. Initiate prosecution to obtain convictions.

Until then - no more flying SAA - sweeping this under the carpet is not going to crack it. And no this Constitutional criminal (SAA) should not be left or allowed to investigate the matter itself - nobody trust them anymore. "- Press.Enter.12

What's wrong with the process?

"The exact yapping I was expecting from the "have it alls". As they have mentioned in their statement, they have 85% white in their flying ranks and they were merely trying to incorporate other races into the mix.

The yuppies of course, sensing that this is their sole territory, decide to throw away their toys without even trying to understand the logic behing SAA's policy. Now since this country's airtravel is 80% patroned by whites, SAA was gonna feel the pinch should they decide to boycott the airline." - Luvos.Luvos

"I am sorry for those that feel they can't fly on SAA again. We have a wonderful national carrier who employ many people to which many associated companies belong to. They made a mistake with good intentions, and they have changed, and that is a promising sign for the future of all industries in South Africa. It is not about black or white anymore, it is all about getting the job done. I will always look forward to flying SAA. They are a company that is getting it right at least 80% of the time, and I am sure that others will agree, the other 20% is a work in progress." - Glen E Huysamer

Alternative ways to go about it

"Do not be so silly. The majority of cadets applying are white because they have the educational level and already have a pilot's license of some kind. SAA cannot afford to train their flight crews from the ground up. Therefore the majority of applications will always be white. It is time that SAA started a bursary for say 5 other than white cadets to train from the ground up every year. This would start to address the system of inadequacy." - Beannie

"The cost of flight training is a big barrier to entry for aspiring pilots the world over, however, we must acknowledged that because of SA's past, it's an even bigger one for the previously disadvantaged. Instead of pursuing another blatantly racist policy, SAA should invest in a financial support structure that identified these promising, but financially constricted, pilots-to-be. This will have the desired result of a more "politically correct" pilot representation. A type of study loan." - Johan Maree

"Another more palatable option would be simply to make a government subsidy available to PDI's to assist with flying training costs. This would demand far more from applicants than simply a black skin and the ability to fill in an application form. One could argue that it is still racist, however, it would be a less bitter pill than this circus currently on the go." - Kenny Hubbard

"Transformation by decree won't work, let's level the playing fields at school level so that black people would have the requisite skills to pass the pilot cadet programme." - Thobile Lugwadu


"What makes people think that because whites are not piloting then no one can fly safe? And why is no one commenting on the fact that 85% of pilots are already white? Mainly because in the past no one except whites were allowed to apply." - Fela

"How are we suppose to move forward as a unit in the country when companies are still continuing with policies like this? Besides the airline environment should always be managed with safety being number one, not how many people are black/white." - Vuyisan

Bad for the brand

"SAA killed its brand, its concept of being a proud nation...a proud rainbow nation...
clearly they're not PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN - they're a disgrace ... multiple colours make a rainbow beautiful, not one... rejecting someone based on skin colour is DISGUSTING... thought this was finished in 1994...guess not... PATHETIC" - 777 Productions

Other brands

"I wonder how many White males Comair and 1 Time have trained. Perhaps Solidarity should ask them." - Andrew Smit

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