Human Rights Commission to investigate SAA cadet programme


SAA’s controversial cadet programme will be investigated by the Human Rights Commission (HRC).

Trade Union Solidarity, which has led the charge against the programme because it excludes white males, said in June it would seek legal action against the national carrier. This after it emerged that of the 5 200 applicants only 40 had made it to final selection from a shortlist of 271. Final selections included 10 African men and four women; nine Coloured men and one woman, seven Indian men and two women and seven white women.
“Solidarity asked for an HRC investigation after no white male candidates were selected,” Dirk Groenewald, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, said adding the SAA/cadet issue was now part of the trade union’s fight against “race-firmative” action.
“The HRC will investigate following our request on behalf of 10 white men who applied for the cadet programme. Their applications were unsuccessful due to their skin colour. Their right to equality, dignity and freedom of trade and profession was violated by SAA. The cadet programme’s admission requirements discriminate unfairly against white men and amount to nothing more than a quota system.
“Solidarity wants SAA to be instructed to stop these discriminatory practices and open the cadet programme to people of all races and sexes. If it is found the ten candidates would have been admitted to the cadet programme had it not been for their race, SAA must take the necessary steps to rectify the matter and include the candidates in the programme,” Groenewald said.

In August Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said ahead of an aviation transformation conference a skills shortage was one of the key factors behind the lack of transformation in the local aviation sector. To address this the SA Civil Aviation Authority, Air Traffic and Navigation Services and the Airports Company of SA would be investing more than R52 million in an aviation skills development programme.

This is in line with Chikunga’s statement to Parliament on the development of an all-inclusive civil aviation transformation strategy. She told the House of Assembly about four percent of pilot licence holders in South Africa are previously disadvantaged individuals.

Her sentiments were echoed by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba who called the inclusion of previously disadvantaged individuals in the aviation sector “a critical imperative”.