Civil Aviation Authority briefing on Annual Report

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02 November 2005
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

2 November 2005


Mr J Cronin (ANC)

Documents handed out:
South African Civil Aviation Authority Annual Report 2005 [available at]
Civil Aviation Authority Annual Report as presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport: 2 November 2005

CAA officials presented a report that indicated that their organization was financially sound, with investments, bank balances and cash totalling nearly R 87 million. A vibrant tourist industry and substantial raising as well as effective gathering of aircraft passenger safety charges and user fees were responsible. There was steady growth in Black economic empowerment.
A Committee member expressed concern about a lack of response from the CAA on specific submissions on behalf of members of the public. Training of potential employees for the aircraft industry was not up to the required numbers. An aviation academy should be considered.


Civil Aviation Authority briefing
Mr D Moorosi (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)) and Mr M India (Acting Chief Executive Officer of CAA) opened proceedings with general introductory remarks about the activities, achievements and future plans of the CAA.

Captain S Reiling (General Manager: Air Safety Operations) covered, in more detail, the activities of the CAA in air safety operations and infrastructure, aviation security, occurrence investigations and corporate services. She emphasised the organizational challenges ahead of the CAA.

Mr T Naidoo (General Manager: Corporate Services) proceeded to contextualize the financial statements. He explained that the large surpluses of over R 20 million in both the 2004 and 2005 financial years were due to better collection, to a deliberate increase in the raising of the safety surcharge per scheduled passenger from R 4 to R7, as well as a fortuitous rise in passenger numbers resulting from a vibrant tourist industry. The over-recovery was built-in to secure finances in case of future adverse conditions, and to avoid frequent adjustments which were not favoured by the industry. A reduction from 1 December 2005 in the passenger safety charge from R 6,14 (plus VAT of R 0,84 = R7, 00) to R 6,00 was caused by the inability of the ticket charges to handle cents. The large (17%) increase in passenger volumes registered from 2003 to 2004 was partly due to improved gathering of passenger charges from small airfields. Required staff increases facilitated transformation to more Black employees without reducing the number of White employees. The lack of changes in gender profile at executive and management levels was not satisfactory.

Mr L Mashile (ANC) enquired why laptop and desktop computers were granted to schools, and Ms N Khunou (ANC) asked why electronic equipment was donated only to SAGDA. Mr Naidoo explained that all nine provinces were beneficiaries of redundant or partially used computers in working condition and that the electronic equipment donated to SAGDA were for the trainees there to repair as part of their training.

Mr S Farrow (DA) wondered why a huge sum of money was invested in Old Mutual and not in people, e.g. in training of aircraft mechanics.

Ms Khunou asked whether learnership programs lead to full employment at the CAA. Mr Naidoo replied that bursary students who completed their training were offered full employment. One woman who completed her training became the first Black aeronautical engineer. More money was spent on training than was reflected in the figures, e.g. the flight cost of sending someone to France to gain experience. The cost for the training of one pilot was in the order of R 1 million.

Mr Farrow remarked that inspections were not taking place as required. Capt Reiling replied that of the 9000 aircraft in South Africa, 4800 were recreational aircraft such as microlites and hanggliders which were overseen very effectively by the Aero Club of South Africa.

Ms Khunou enquired whether Blacks, and women in particular, were trained as pilots. Capt Reiling replied that lack of relevant experience required deepening of skills. CAA was not abusing government subsidies for ineffective training programmes. They had a close relationship with TETA (Transport Education and Training Authority) and developed training material together.

The Chair pointed out that at the time less training was done than was done for the air force during the Apartheid era, and Mr Farrow complained that an offer of tutorships from a small aircraft operator to TETA was not even answered by them. Mr Naidoo stated that human resource capacity had to be increased. TETA had no option other than to rely on the CAA in this area. What was urgently required was a coordinated process; a nationally driven programme to which the Government had to commit, such as a school of aviation. The knowledge was available in the country. Township children lacked computer skills, and there was the fear factor.

The Chair encouraged the sentiments expressed by Mr Naidoo and said that the Committee as politicians could give support on the political front. Was the investment of more than R 60 million in Old Mutual according to an investment policy, and how strong was the involvement of the Department of Transport in the development of such a policy for the CAA?

Mr Moroosi stated that there was no policy for investment. However, since the new Board of Directors was appointed in May 2005 a strategy was developed in conjunction with the Department of Transport and an investment policy was virtually ready to be issued.

Mr Farrow was deeply concerned that the CAA was not responding to repeated requests for elucidation on various matters which he had submitted on behalf of concerned people and even the Department of Transport. Document after document was not being answered. He was referring in particular to the case of the Huey helicopter, registered in Zambia, which was still operating in Cape Town in spite of a court order to cease operations.

Mr India gave the assurance that he did respond via the Department of Transport, but that he would re-issue a reply from his office.

Capt Reiling felt that a certain individual might be abusing Mr Farrow’s trust. The CAA was involved in a court action about the Huey helicopter case.

The Chair felt that lines of communication could be improved and that it was imperative that the CAA responded.

Mr Mashile requested information on how the aviation awareness programme of the CAA was constituted, and asked whether the whole country would be covered or just Gauteng Province.

Capt Reiling replied that schools were visited and that pupils with a C average and Mathematics, Science and English subjects were considered promising for training. The airport at Polokwane had had no adequate instrument landing system, but one was installed and was being calibrated.

Mr Farrow asked, with reference to the two Antonov airplanes which had invaded South African airspace, whether the jusrisdiction of the CAA extended beyond the borders, and whether they had jurisdiction over foreign airplanes in South Africa. Capt Reiling replied that in South African airspace, the CAA took control.

Ms Khunou felt that the CAA was not using TETA as much as they should.

The meeting was adjourned.



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