The airline's website had been changed so that applications from white men would not automatically be rejected, according to Fikile Thabethe, head of the airline's legal department.
The ban was lifted on Friday, after trade union Solidarity sent SAA a letter from its lawyers, urging it to drop its quota system for cadets.
The Democratic Alliance and Solidarity reacted with outrage on Friday to news that whites would be excluded from the programme.
SAA spokesman Kabelo Ledwaba told Beeld the move was meant to bring pilot demographics in line with the country's. He told Rapport that 85 percent of SAA's pilots were white, and, of these, 91 percent were men.
The closing date for applications to the cadet programme had been extended from August 17 to August 31, to allow other whites to apply, as Solidarity had demanded.
“This total ban on applications from whites goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” Solidarity's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann told Rapport. - Sapa