Thursday, June 13, 2013

Concern over SA Airways' cadet program: No white males for SAA pilot training program

While SAA lifted a ban on pilot applications from white males in August, no white men were selected for its cadet program this year.

"In essence, it would appear that the ban on the employment of white male trainee pilots has not been lifted in practice," the FW De Klerk Foundation said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the foundation, of the final 40 candidates for the 2013 intake for South African Airways's cadet pilot development program, not a single white man was selected. The Foundation claims that this is because the candidates fall under the category of previously disadvantaged individuals as defined in the Employment Equity Act.

The group reportedly consists of 10 black men, four black women, nine colored men, one colored woman, seven Indian men, two Indian women and seven white women.

The foundation has criticized SAA's selection, saying that the airline should keep in mind that aptitude, ability and qualifications of applicants must play a central role in their employment decisions – regardless of race or gender.

It said the airline should also not create "an absolute barrier carrier" by completely barring groups that do not fall under the Employment Equity Act.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali has stated that, "it is important to note this [the choice of cadets] in the context of the current reality and measures that need to be taken".

Tlali further stated that "the cadet program is the airline's effort to transform not only its own but also the country's flight deck community, which is nowhere close to reflecting the country's demographics".

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June 13 2013 at 06:37pm  -By SAPA
Johannesburg - The DA expressed its concern on Thursday about SA Airways' decision to exclude white men from its pilot cadet program.

“Our economy is dependent on the airline industry, especially in the creation and retention of jobs. We must therefore extend opportunities to participate in the airline industry to all South Africans, regardless of race,” said Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Michael.

She said it was of the utmost importance that South Africans honor their past, “but equally, we must be allowed to own our future”.

On Monday, SAA announced that 40 candidates had qualified for its cadet pilot program: 10 black men, four black women, nine colored men, one colored woman, seven Indian men, two Indian women, and seven white women.

The FW de Klerk Foundation said aptitude, and not just race, had to be considered by SAA when it selected cadet pilots.

It was understandable that SAA wanted to make its flight decks reflect the country's demographics, said the foundation's Jacques du Preez.

However, the state-owned airline also had to consider other factors when selecting candidates.

“It must ensure that ability... is given sufficient weighting in its employment decisions. The relative aptitude, ability and qualifications of applicants must play a central role in SAA's employment decisions, regardless of race or gender,” he said.

Du Preez said the first requirement had to be for the candidates to be excellent pilots, irrespective of their race.

“It must consider the prohibition against unfair discrimination on the grounds of race and gender in section nine (four) of the Constitution and the requirement to prove, in terms of section nine (five), that each instance of discrimination is fair.”

He said SAA should consider section 16 (four) of the Employment Equity Act. The section stated that employers “are not required to take any decision... that would establish an absolute barrier to the prospective or continued employment of people whether or not they are from designated groups”.


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