SACAA Citation crash raises call for revision of Civil Aviation Amendment Bill


There is a need to revise the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill in the light of an investigation into the January 2020 fatal crash of a SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) calibration aircraft.

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow transport minister Chris Hunsinger wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to return the bill for revision.

“Particular conditions of the bill need revision following tabling of the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau’s (AAIB) report into the crash of the SACAA Cessna S550 ZS-CAR, tasked to carry out a calibration flight at the George Airport on 23 January 2020, before the parliamentary portfolio committee on transport. All three flight crew members died in the crash.

“The report was partially released online in January. It is the same partial report – page 56, which contains paragraphs 19 to 30 of the conclusions, is still missing –now been tabled in Parliament,” he said in a statement adding Peter Mashaba, previous SACAA head of aircraft investigation, has been summoned to the Portfolio Committee on Transport to give evidence.

“According to Deputy Transport Minister Sindiswe Chikunga the missing paragraphs were never submitted. What has always been clear from the report we have is the aircraft had a host of irregularities and should never have been allowed to fly.

“The decision to use the aircraft was irresponsible, negligent and there was clear disregard for the rules and regulations meant to keep flight crew safe. It also shows SACAA seems to believe they are above the rules, regulations and standards they are meant to monitor and enforce.”

Hunsinger maintains four amendments to the bill are “a huge concern” to the aviation industry.

They include the Aviation Safety Investigation Board not apportioning blame or liability in any report after investigating an aircraft accident or incident and the sole objective of the investigation must be accident prevention.

The Cessna Citation S550 crash, Hunsinger said, “seriously damaged the reputation and credibility of SACAA”.