DA calls on Minister Mbalula to come clean on aviation report that contains ‘significant security concerns’

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Chris Hunsinger MP

The DA has recently learned, from a reliable source, of an aviation inspection report containing “significant security concern findings” that is being withheld from key staff at the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the Department of Transport (DoT).

Allegedly this inspection report is in the possession of ANC Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and three others.

SACAA plays an integral role in ensuring the prevention and reduction of aircraft incidents for all domestic an guest aviation traffic, both for passengers and cargo. By withholding this report, it transfers a severe risk to all aviation participants and stakeholders using South African air space and infrastructure.

The four recipients of this assumed detrimental report now appear to want to hide the content of this latest local aviation audit results. The content is alleged to expose substantial shortfalls in compliance with compulsory civil aviation safety and security standards.

To maintain aviation safety and security, areas of non-compliance must be monitored and addressed through aviation regulations. There is a clear correlation between regulatory non-compliance and an increase in safety risks.

As such, international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector are used by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms.

This permits more than 100 000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world.

The consequences of withholding ICAO audit reports therefore put forward several international complications not excluding serious diplomatic implications and should be regarded as highly irregular.

The DA calls on Minister Mbalula, Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, SACAA Director of Civil Aviation Dr Poppy Khoza and Transport DG Ngwako Makaepe – all of whom are being suspected of being familiar with the content – to come clean and reveal the content of the report.

Hiding it from the public, and staff in particular, is reckless and irresponsible.

The DA will, at the next opportunity, table this complaint formally with the portfolio committee on Transport.