New Transport Minister must share our Air and Aviation Safety Status

Issued by Chris Hunsinger MP – DA Shadow Minister of Transport
05 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA notes with concern the decision by the SA Civil Aviation Authority to suspend certain air traffic navigation procedures at more than ten airports due to non-compliance.

The sudden suspension comes as SA Civil Aviation Authority’s (SACAA) safety systems being audited by international body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The suspension of air procedures, such as the instrument landing system (ILS) – used when visibility is poor has already caused delays at some airports. The DA forewarned Former Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, in December last year of the effects of a lack of maintenance and repairs to the country’s navigational and guidance support equipment.

Flights will generally be operating as usual should aircrafts be able to land in good visual conditions. However, bad weather may affect operations and accordingly the safety of passengers.

The suspension of procedures could have been prevented had SACAA performed the necessary oversight.

We call on the ATNS to submit mitigation measures for all procedures to ensure that no further disruptions take place.

The newly appointed Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, can not fail this industry like her predecessor, but rather, should ensure the efficacy of the country’s navigational and guidance support systems

Incidents like this point to the issues and safety dilemmas which occur when there is no separation of safety and operations – something which the DA strongly promoted during consideration of updated content to the latest Civil Aviation Act.

Clearly, the ANC government through its manipulated entities are now taking full benefit of measures which would’ve safeguarded conditions like this.

We call on the Minister to provide answers on the impact of closing of instrument approaches at various airports and clarify the link between the ATNS/SACAA procedure suspensions and the ICAO audits.