Poppy Khoza, the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s (SACAA) director of civil aviation, has welcomed preliminary aviation safety audit results that demonstrate an improvement over the assessment done five years earlier.
“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 came after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) completed a 12-day audit of South Africa’s aviation oversight system, which was coordinated and led by SACAA on behalf of the government, as part of its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme — Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA).
South Africa did not get a serious safety concern and achieved an impressive effective implementation (EI) score of 92% in the audit, which was completed earlier this month following a two-week rigorous process.
The country received an 87.39% rating from ICAO in its most recent audit, which was conducted more than five years ago.
SACAA is expecting the final report in fewer than five months due to the lengthy processes needed before the final result is revealed. It is addressing the minor findings in the preliminary report in order to close the gaps identified.
South Africa has been a signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and an ICAO member since 1944. The country is required to follow international civil aviation standards and suggested practices.
According to Khoza, the ICAO will typically visit a country to audit and assess conformity with the standards and suggested practices it has established.
This is done to ensure the orderly development of civil aviation, which includes safety, security, and environmental concerns, according to Khoza who said, “The audit we just completed last week is a safety audit that is at the entire safety value chain of our civil aviation.”
She stated that the international group looked into a variety of audit areas, including whether there was an acceptable legislative framework in place 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 also stated that ICAO will investigate whether their legislation contains any enabling provisions. For example, if an airline, operator, or airport is not complying, it may ground an aircraft or initiate an enforcement action.
“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.