Minister of Transport S’bu Ndebele says his department intends to establish an independent Aviation Safety Investigation Board (ASIB) in the next financial year.
Ndebele, in a written answer to a Parliamentary question to Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald, said the applicable parts of Chapter 4 of the Civil Aviation Act 13 of 2009, which provides for the powers and functions of an ASIB are not yet in force. “The Board of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) will only be able to function when the relevant provisions of the Act are in force and after budgetary allocations have been made for that purpose. It is envisaged that the National Treasury will make budgetary allocations for the creation of the Aviation Safety Investigation Board in the next financial year,” he said.
In answer to a similar question by the Democratic Alliance’s Stevens Mokgalapa, he added that accident investigation was currently conducted by the Accident and Incident Investigation Division (AIID) within SACAA “on a cost recovery basis on behalf of the Department of Transport”. Ndebele says this arrangement that has been in place since the creation of the SACAA in October 1998. “The function of investigation of selected accidents and serious incidents will be transferred from the SACAA to the ASIB on a mutually agreed date when the ASIB has been established and is suitably staffed.”
Ndebele also noted there have been 124 aviation-related accidents for the calendar year to November 3, 15 of which were fatal. Twenty-four deaths were recorded in these 15 fatal accidents. This compares to 126 and 16 respectively for 2009 (with 28 deaths), 190 for 2008 (33 fatal, 94 deaths) and 184 (27 fatal, 38 deaths) for 2007.