A race row has broken out in South Africa after health officials advertised for 100 new doctors, but did not allow white medics to apply for specialist roles.
The health department in the KwaZulu-Natal province expanded its registrar programme for 2019 from 314 to 414, but aimed to fill the new posts with only black candidates.
Health bosses said the move was implemented to redress the country’s historical racial imbalance of Apartheid that saw most high-ranking positions filed by white doctors.
Campaigners and human rights activists have branded the recruitment policy ‘discriminatory, unconstitutional and racist’.
Leaked documents show the department wanted to train a total of 366 black doctors and had already recruited 32 Indian, 12 white and four mixed race registrars, but need a further 100 black medics to meet employment equity targets.
The registrar programme trains doctors to become specialists over a four-year period.
Ncumisa Mafunda, a spokeswoman for the health department, said historical redress was a ‘government imperative’ and ‘the morally and socially right thing to do’.