The trade union Solidarity said on Tuesday that the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will investigate the cadet pilot programme of South African Airways (SAA).
"Solidarity requested the investigation after the airline had not admitted any white male candidates to its cadet programme," said Dirk Groenewald, head of Solidarity's centre for fair labour.
He said Solidarity asked for the investigation on behalf of 10 white men who applied to be admitted to the programme.
Their applications were unsuccessful because of their skin colour, according to Solidarity.
"The 10 candidates' right to equality, dignity and freedom of trade and profession was violated by the SAA, as their applications would have been considered had it not been for their race."
He said the cadet programme's admission requirements discriminated unfairly against white men and amounted to a quota system.
He said Solidarity had asked that SAA be instructed to stop the discriminatory practices and open the programme to people of all races and sexes.
"If it is found that the 10 candidates would have been admitted to the cadet programme had it not been for their race, then SAA must take the necessary steps to rectify the matter and include the candidates in the programme."
The SAA and the SAHRC were not immediately available for comment. – Sapa