The Portfolio Committee on Transport in the National Assembly may delay passage of the Civil Aviation Bill to thoroughly debate some contentious issues that have arisen in connection with the administration of civil aviation in South Africa.
The new Bill seeks to amend, consolidate and repeal various laws currently on the statute books in order to give effect to a number of international aviation conventions South Africa are party too.
Civil Aviation Authority chief director Anwar Gany told MPs the Bill would further provide for the control and regulation of aviation within South Africa and replace the Aviation Act, Civil Aviation Offences Act and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Act.
The Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) notes 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 the Aviation Safety Investigation Board (ASIB); the perceived lack of industry participation and consultation and issues around the National Civil Aviation Security Coordinator (NCASC).
The PMG minutes note that committee chairman Jeremy Cronin “emphasised the need for the committee to discuss these issues in depth”.
Gany told MPs that previous drafts of the Bill 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.”
CAA board member Desmond Golding added that he was of the view that the Bill did not delegate powers clearly enough, “and that this created a lot of confusion”.
CAA aviation security manager R Wilson said there was a “need to upgrade [the] regulation of [airport] security both in vigilance and resources, for example by restricting access to certain parts of airports”.
Wilson added responsibility for airport security was currently “blurred” between the department and CAA and “this was a stumbling block to effective implementation.”