'We now rank among the best in the world': SACAA boss on SA aviation safety audit

14 April 2023 - 22:19
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Director of Civil Aviation at the SACAA, Poppy Khoza.
Director of Civil Aviation at the SACAA, Poppy Khoza.
Image: Supplied

The director of civil aviation at the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Poppy Khoza, has welcomed the preliminary aviation safety audit results which showed an improvement on the audit conducted five years ago.

“We now rank among the best in the world. As a matter of fact, on the continent we rank number one,” she said on the sidelines of the national aviation conference on Friday.

This was after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme — Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA), concluded a 12-day audit of South Africa's aviation oversight system, a process co-ordinated and led by SACAA on behalf of the government.

South Africa did not attract a significant safety concern and received an overwhelming effective implementation (EI) score of 92% in the audit, which was concluded earlier this month after an intensive two-week process.

In the last audit conducted more than five years ago, ICAO gave the country a score of 87.39%.

SACAA is waiting for the final report in less than five months as there are elaborate processes involved before the final outcome is announced.

It is attending to the minor findings contained in the preliminary report to close the gaps identified.

South Africa is a signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and a member state of ICAO since 1944. The country is obligated to comply with prescribed international civil aviation standards and recommended practices.

Khoza said ICAO will usually visit to audit and check compliance of a certain country in terms of the standards and recommended practices it has set.

This is done to ensure the orderly development of civil aviation including issues of safety, security and environment.

“The audit we just completed last week is a safety audit that is at the entire safety value chain of our civil aviation,” she said.

She said the international organisation examined several audit areas, including whether there was an adequate legislative framework to ensure proper regulation.

“They will look at personal licences, they will look at aircraft airworthiness. They will look at the general flight operations, they will look at the issues of craft accident investigations and they will also look at the organisation in terms of the structure.

“Those are the main pillars, underneath all those auditing areas, are what we call protocol questions. They look at the entire process.”

She said ICAO will also check if there are empowering provisions in their legislation. For example, to ground an aircraft or take enforcement measures if an airline, operator or airport is non-compliant.

“They go to the industry, they do the industry visit based on the operations they have sampled and they then check whether we as a regulatory authority are doing the right thing in terms of regulating the civil aviation industry effectively.

“We are very excited and the international community has spoken on our safety,” she said.


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