Question NW443 to the Minister of Transport

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22 May 2020 - NW443

Profile picture: Mabhena, Mr TB

Mabhena, Mr TB to ask the Minister of Transport

(1)Whether he has found that the failure to establish the Consultative Environmental Committee infringes and violates the rights of the citizens and is a violation of the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) (details furnished); (2) whether he has been informed that a licence was granted to a certain company (name furnished) for a heliport, however to date no Consultative Environmental Committee has been established; if not, what form of recourse will he initiate to correct the current violation of the SACAA regulations; if so, what steps has he taken in this regard noting that the residents of Buccleuh have been hardest hit in terms of the alleged dereliction of duty by SACAA; (3) whether there was any public consultation process that was undertaken when the heliport was established, if so, will he furnish Mr T B Mabhena with the (a) details of the meeting(s) and (b) attendance register(s) of the public consultation process?

Reply:

South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)

Answer Q1:

No right are currently being violated by the SACCA, through the non-establishment of a Consultative Environment Committee, for the reason as set out below;

  • The regulation does not impose a requirement for the establishment of a CEC, but allows discretion by the Director of Civil Aviation to be applied as the necessity of a CEC.
  • The establishment of land-based aviation infrastructure, such as heliport, airport or helistop, is subject to approval by the land Use Management Authority, which is the local authority, who is responsible for zoning restrictions on activities, etc. for its area of jurisdiction.
  • The monitoring, implementation and enforcement of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 2013, (Act No.16 of 2013), is not the responsibility of the SACCA.
  • The SACCA relies on the approval granted by the relevant authority, before proceeding with the assessment of an application for the establishment of any aviation infrastructure.
  • In addition, part of such an approval includes and environment assessment or scoping, which is also considered by the Land Use Management Authority, before granting its approval.

A Consultative Environment Committee can be established at the discretion of the Director of Civil Aviation, should she deem it necessary in line with the provisions of Part139.03.8(4) of the Civil Aviation Regulations. Such a need may rises because of changing conditions around an established facility, where approval by local Authority has been in existence for a significant length time. Ordinary the Director is not expected to establish a Consultative Environmental Committee with regards to newly established facilities as environmental assessment and scoping process is one of the reports to be considered by the Local Authority during the approval process, unless the Local Authority has stated the requirement of a Committee, or similar consultative structure, as a condition of approval of a facility. In the case of Ultimate Heli, the Land Management Authority (Johannesburg)did not impose any conditions that impacts that mandate of the SACCA.

Answer Q2

a)  Ultimate Heli applied for a heliport licence. Their application was not granted as they are yet to meet all legal requirements. They were, however, issued with a helistop approval, which has less stringent requirements than a heliport licence approval. Ultimate Heli is still in the process of expanding their facility in order to comply with heliport licence requirements. In terms of the Civil Aviation Act 2009 (Act 13 of 2009 the Minister is not required to be informed of such an approval.

B) As highlighted with the answer to Question1, the non-establishment of a Consultative Environment Committee is not a violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations,2011, as the Director of Civil Aviation has a discretion to establish such a committee should it be necessary.

c)  Although not a legal requirement as this stage, the SACCA is aware that Ultimate Heli is in discussions with Buccleuch residents, in order to provide for a forum where they will discuss issues of common interest.

Upon reviewing the matter, the Minister of Transport does not deem it necessary to initiate any form of recourse as there is no dereliction of duty or failure by the Department of Transport or the SA Civil Aviation Authority. The Minister of Transport herby advises that this matter referred to the Land Use Management Authority, by the complainants, being the City of Johannesburg.

Answer Q3

The requirement for public consultative meetings is contained in the process leading up to an environment approval under the applicable environmental legislation and is the function of the Local Authority, before granting its zoning approval. It is not a requirement to be fulfilled by the SACCA or the Department of Transport, in terms of the Aviation Legislation.

SACCA is, however, required to do public consultation in order to solicit public comments or the establishment of heliports. The latter was done through publication in Government Gazette, as prescribed in Part 139.03.11 of the Civil Aviation Regulations, 2011.

The said application was published in Government Gazette Nr:918, published on 31 August 2018 for public comment, followed by a correction notice, Nr:944, on the 12 September 2018, due to error in the closing date stated in Nr:918. No comments were received in relation to the issues raised in this PQ, or any other concern relating to environment impact. Question3(a) and (b) therefore do not apply as the said public consultation was an initial requirement from the local Authority in approving the location, from an Environmental Impact Assessment perspective, and subsequent publication required by the Civil Aviation Regulations, was done by publication through Government Gazette, in compliance with the regulations, and not holding public hearing.

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