The National Assembly (NA) has passed the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill, during its plenary sitting on Tuesday.
The Bill, with amendments also by the Portfolio Committee on Transport, amends the Civil Aviation Act of 2009.
The amendments include among others, provision for operational independence of aircraft accident and incident investigation; rectifying provisions about establishing the South African Civil Aviation Authority, including giving it environmental protection oversight function and providing for it as a preferential creditor in respect of any money, fees, charges or levies collected on its behalf; and doing away with the requirement for the development of a corporate governance plan.
The amendments also include, amending provisions concerning appointment and removal of the Commissioner for Civil Aviation; amending provisions relating to the performance agreement between the Minister and the Aviation Safety Investigation Board; clarifying provisions dealing with conflict of interest.
It also provides for the designation of the Chairperson of the National Aviation Security Committee and matters connected with its operations.
The Bill was first introduced during the fifth Parliament, in November 2018, but lapsed when the term of that Parliament came to an end.
Following the 2019 elections and establishment of the sixth Parliament, the NA revived the Bill on 29 October 2019.
Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo noted that while inquiring into the subject of the Bill during public hearings and deliberations, the Portfolio Committee on Transport realised it was necessary to amend other provisions of the principal Act not included in the Bill, and to further extend public consultations.
“The committee received a submission from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) regarding its preferential creditor status, when the licensed service provider that collects fees on its behalf becomes insolvent.
“The envisaged amendments, which were not in the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill revived in 2019, would allow SACAA to be one of the first in line creditors to get their fees. This would be either through a trust or ring-fenced funds, as preferential shareholder through the Insolvency Act,” Mothapo said.
The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill – with the amendments by the Portfolio Committee on Transport will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for consideration.