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Wed May 06 19:30:24 SAST 2015

Too white to study medicine

PREGA GOVENDER | 27 November, 2011 01:50
A doctor holding a stethoscope.

THE University of Stellenbosch reversed its decision to grant a pupil a place in medical school - after discovering that she was white, not coloured, as she had mistakenly stated in her online application.

The 18-year-old applicant, who asked that she not be named, achieved six distinctions in her Grade 11 exams and, in September, learnt the university had accepted her application. But, on October 13, Dr Ronel Retief, the head of academic administration, phoned her to verify her race.

The teenager told Retief she was white - and was informed this would affect her chances of being admitted to study medicine.

University spokesman Susan van der Merwe said the pupil's selection was reversed after it came to light that the applicant made "a bona fide mistake" on the application form.

"The decision was taken to safeguard the integrity and fairness of the process in terms of the more than 550 candidates who had not been selected and who, based on merit, were ranked higher."

Van der Merwe said Indian candidates, preferably from the Western and Northern Cape and African and coloured candidates from all provinces were selected first.