Civil Aviation Bill [B73-2008]: deliberations

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22 October 2008
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee received a brief presentation from the Department of Transport on the Civil Aviation Bill, a fairly technical piece of legislation that was intended to amend, consolidate and repeal laws in order to give effect to certain International Aviation Conventions. It was noted that it would further provide for the control and regulation of aviation within South Africa and regulations presently covered by the Aviation Act, Civil Aviation Offences Act and the Civil Aviation Authority. The presentation and subsequent discussion revolved around issues raised at previous meetings and were centred around the creation of numerous centres of power; the independence of ASIB; the perceived lack of industry participation and consultation and issues around the National Civil Aviation Security Coordinator. (NCASC). The role and functioning of the Board was again addressed. Members agreed that they would have to discuss these issues in depth before reaching a final conclusion on the Bill.

Meeting report

Mr Anwar Gany, Chief Director: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gave a brief presentation on the issues that had been raised previously. He noted that the four main issues were:
- the creation of numerous centres of power;
- questions were raised around the independence of the Aviation Safety Investigation Board (ASIB)
- the lack of industry participation and consultation
- issues around the National Civil Aviation Security Coordinator (NCASC)

Mr Gany than proceeded to expand upon each issue.

He explained that the previous drafts had provided for duties and powers to be distributed amongst the Minister and Director-General of Transport, the NCASC, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the CAA board.

The current draft divided the powers differently. The Minister and his Department would be the functionary responsible for the carrying out of the Act, the Convention and Transit Agreement, and for policy. The CAA and the Director would be responsible for the implementation and compliance with the national aviation security programme, and for the safety and security oversight of civil aviation in terms of Clauses 71 and 72. The CAA board established under Clause 79 was to determine, oversee, implement and revise the corporate governance structures in the CAA. It would also oversee human resources strategies and corporate governance plans.

Mr Gany proceeded on to the next issue, noting that Clause 15 required public participation in the nomination process. The ASIB would be appointed by Parliament, whilst ASIB would be responsible for appointing its own staff. ASIB would be granted wide powers of investigation. This was all done in order to comply with South Africa’s international obligations as contained in Annexe 13 of the Chicago Convention. The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) would apply.

Mr Gany then considered industry participation and noted that Clause 82 and Clause 142 called for representation on the boards of the CAA and CARC.  This would ensure direct influence on technical regulations. There was varied industry participation, which would also cover issues such as recreational aviation, and there was now provision for consultative structures.

Moving on to issues surrounding the NCASC, he explained that the Department would responsible for policy of National Civil Aviation, in respect of security-related policy matters, and in this regard this tied in with Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention.  There were other various responsibilities on the Department, as reflected in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Security Guidelines. Aviation participants would be required to have a National Aviation Security Plan (NASP) and non compliance would be an offence.

Finally the Department noted that C
onstitutional and other issues had been reconsidered and amended where applicable. The stakeholder concerns had been reappraised and he directed the attention of Members to the “registered owner”, strict liability and insurance requirements. The Department’s policy around strict liability had been retained. The Department believed that the Bill complied with ICAO and FAA requirements or audit findings.


The Chairperson emphasised the need for the Committee to discuss these issues in depth.

Mr R Wilson, Manager: Aviation Security, CAA, stated that while airports and carriers needed to implement the spirit of the Bill, there was a need for someone to ensure that compliance was both sustained and sustainable.

The Chairperson stressed that there was a range of stakeholders in this process and that co-ordination would necessarily go beyond politics.

Mr Wilson stated that in order to have a “complete circle”, the involvement of various agencies was required.

Mr Wilson noted that testing was solely within the domain of the Department. He questioned why this was so, as this meant that the process would not be co-ordinated, resulting in a potential embarrassment to the Department.

The Chairperson noted that that no-one was in disagreement that the players needed to be co-ordinated, but that no responsibility of co-ordinating lay with the Department. He noted, in response to a query on this from Mr S Farrow, that the Department was to oversee but not to do the actual coordination.

 Mr Wilson said that there was a need to upgrade regulation of security both in vigilance and resources, for example by restricting access to certain parts of airports. He further stated that the only way to analyse threats was through intelligence agencies.

He further raised the issue of the defining of responsibilities between the Department and CAA, saying that at the moment this was blurred and that this was a stumbling block to effective implementation

Mr Desmond Golding, Board Member, South African Civil Aviation Authority, said he was of the view that the Bill did not delegate powers clearly enough, and that this created a lot of confusion. For example, the CEO of the CAA was accountable to the Minister but not to the Board itself.

Mr Farrow asked why the Board needed two civilians. If the Board was not responsible for safety, then he questioned why pilots were needed. The Board should have responsibilities, and he saw this as a potential area of downfall. .

An ANC Member said that he saw several areas of conflict in his view, including the interaction between the Department and CAA, and how the relationship between them was to develop, the use of confusing terminology in legislation, and the co-coordinating role of the Department.

The meeting was adjourned.


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