A list of largely unknown nominees to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) board, published in the Government Gazette at the end of last month, has sparked outrage in the aviation industry, with several aviation organisations lodging objections with Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, Business Day reports.
The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) have both objected to the department, the paper said this morning. There are fears that many of the nominees do not meet the requirements of the new Civil Aviation Act. The future of the CAA’s CEO Colin Jordaan, who is nearing the end of his three-year contract, has been cast into doubt after the department advertised his post this month.
Jordaan, recruited by former transport minister Jeff Radebe in late 2007, has in the past three years stabilised the CAA and helped ensure the organisation passed a stringent US federal aviation audit.
“Mr Jordaan has made huge strides in improving the management of CAA. Ideally, we need Mr Jordaan to stay on for another three years and for a strong board to support him. Without people who understand the aviation industry we could take a major step back,” said CAASA president Johan Nel to the Business Day.
“It is not clear whether the nominees have the experience required in terms of the Act. We have written to the Department of Transport to request that the appointment of the new board be postponed until we have been able to ensure that the right people are appointed,” said Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA.
Section 77(1) of the Civil Aviation Act requires: one board member with suitable expertise in human resources; two people representative of the civil aviation industry with financial expertise and operational expertise; an expert in aviation law; and one with technical competencies involved in organised labour from the aviation industry.
Better-known nominees include Randall Howard, former secretary- general of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union; Priska Soko, MD of Mpumalanga Petroleum; and Harry Mathabathe, former deputy director-general in the Department of Communications. Other nominees include Roshan Rai Dehal, Sello Motau, Blessing Musarurgwa, Patrick Ndlovu, Themba Ntsibande, Elmarie Olivier and Nozipho Sangweni.
Asked whether the department was satisfied with the qualifications of the candidates, spokesman Sam Monareng said: “Yes, there are representatives from the aviation industry with extensive experience.”