On 05 March 2024, the Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga held a press conference to give crucial updates regarding the aviation sector at the Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) head offices. During the briefing, Minister Chikunga was joined by the Chief Executives from the three aviation entities of the Department, Ms Poppy Khoza (SACAA), Ms Nozipho Mdawe (ATNS) and Ms Mpumi Mpofu (ACSA), together with other various stakeholders and senior executives from the aviation industry.

The media briefing covered the business status of the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS). SACAA’s primary mandate is to regulate, control, promote, support by developing, enforcing and continuously improving levels of safety and security throughout the civil aviation industry in South Africa. The Air Traffic Navigation Services is charged with the acquisition, establishment, development, provision, maintenance, management, control or operation of air navigation infrastructure, air traffic services or air navigation services. The Third Aviation State Owned Entity is the Airports Company South Africa, (ACSA). ACSA is mandated to undertake the acquisition, establishment, development, provision, maintenance, management control or operation of any airport, any part of any airport or any facility or service at any airport normally related to the functioning of the airport in South Africa.

The aviation sector forms part of the critical global and national enablers of the social, economic, and cultural development of countries through mobility and connectivity. Aviation Regulators all over the world, including SACAA play a pivotal role in supporting and ensuring the safe, secure and sustainable development of international air transport.

On some of the developments Minister Chikunga mentioned was the continued 0% fatal accident rate held in the commercial airlines sector for nearly four decades. The target is to maintain this record for decades to come. “One of the current administration’s strategic targets is to reduce accidents in the general aviation sector by 50%.” Said the Minister.

Minister Chikunga proudly mentioned that ICAO rated South Africa’s safety oversight system at 91.11%, thereby placing South Africa at number one in Africa and number 18 in the world alongside Norway. According to Chikunga, ICAO also did not raise any significant safety and security concerns in both the safety and security audits which happened within eight months of each other.

The Minister also tabled matters related to permits issued by the Economic Regulating Committee and share plans to digitise the licensing permit procedures for both international and domestic flights. She further introduced the newly established Aviation Appeals Committee.

In her closing, she proudly stated that these advancements mark a significant step towards simplifying bureaucratic procedures and enhancing efficiency and transparency in the aviation industry.