The KwaZulu-Natal health department expanded its registrar programme in 2019 from 314 to 414, but aimed to fill the 100 new posts with only black candidates.
Some called this discriminatory, unconstitutional and racist, but the provincial health department said it was “unapologetic about addressing these imbalances of the past”.
“South Africa, including KwaZulu-Natal, remains an unequal society with limited opportunities for self-development for those who were historically oppressed,” departmental spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said.
According to leaked departmental communication, the department wanted to train 366 black, 32 Indian, 12 white and four coloured registrars to meet employment equity targets. The registrar programme trains doctors to become specialists over four years.
“This means 238 posts must be filled with Africans to take the current 128 filled posts to the target of 366. This implies that the 100 new posts must go to Africans in terms of the targets, else if there are no suitable Africans, the posts must be re-advertised.”