South African Airways (SAA) declared in a lawyer’s letter sent to trade union, Solidarity, that it would lift its ban on the applications of white, male students for its controversial cadet programme. This comes within hours after Solidarity instituted legal action against SAA on behalf of three young white applicants. Solidarity on Friday also launched an extensive public protest campaign against SAA.
Solidarity’s action followed when it became known that the applications of white applicants for SAA’s cadet programme were immediately being rejected on the airline’s website, while those of black applicants with the same profile were accepted.
“This total ban on the appointment of whites goes against the letter and spirit of the South African Constitution,” Dirk Hermann, Solidarity’s Deputy General Secretary said.
In order to avert Solidarity’s court action, SAA informed the trade union in writing that the closing date for applications for the cadet programme was postponed to the end of August, and that the application form on its website was adapted, giving white men also the opportunity to apply.
In its lawyer’s letter, Solidarity demanded that SAA abolish its quota system for cadets with immediate effect, and that the application process be re-opened. Meanwhile, members of the public were asked to send protest messages to SAA CEO, Siza Mzimela, and to Cheryl Carolus, SAA Board Chair via Solidarity’s protest web page, www.stopkwotas.co.za, as part of a public campaign against SAA.
According to Hermann, the success of the Stop SAA campaign shows that South Africans can let their voices be heard in an effective way.
In this case, Solidarity acted on behalf of Pierre de Klerk (19), Armand Moolman (21) and Jan-Paul Nel (20), all of whom applied for the programme but were rejected based on the colour of their skin. According to Hermann, De Klerk, Moolman and Nel met all the requirements for the programme, but their applications were instantly rejected simply because they are white. “De Klerk passed matric with a B symbol for maths and science at higher grade, and an A symbol for English at higher grade. Moolman and Nel too, meet all the requirements and already have private pilots’ licences (PPLs).”
Within minutes of submitting their applications, the three of them all received a letter advising them that their applications were “regrettably” unsuccessful. The letter furthermore states that they should not feel discouraged to apply for future positions in SAA.
Click here <http://www.solidaritymedia.co.za/solidaritys-letter-of-demand-to-saa-and-their-reply/> to read Solidarity’s letter of demand to SAA, as well as SAA’s reply.