The loss of a South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) calibration aircraft two years ago and the release of a report into the crash outside George has sparked a war of words with the authority’s boss leading the charge.
SACAA director of civil aviation Poppy Khoza maintains in a statement the published report on the ZS-CAR crash compiled by the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) contains “stark differences” to a report “shared with affected parties” last August.
“In both the regulator and the operator’s preliminary observations, the published report contains new information and subsequent findings which differ materially from information in the draft report, which the regulator and 0perator were not given an opportunity to comment.
“SACAA and the operator also noted gross mistakes and inaccurate references
to the CARs (Civil Aviation Regulations) in the new findings, which compromise the integrity and accuracy of the report. SACAA and operator are in possession of evidence that will refute the new information in the final report and if considered will satisfactorily address the new findings,” the SACAA statement has it adding “publishing of the final report without comments from the operator and regulator is unprocedural and inconsistent”.
Reports have it the SACAA contravened “a slew” of its own regulations ahead of the crash of the Cessna S550 Citation SII while tasked with airport calibration at George in southern Cape a year ago. Three SACAA employees – Thabiso Tholo (captain), Tebogo Lekalakala (first officer) and flight inspector Gugu Mnguni – died when the jet crashed into the Outeniqua Mountains.
Among apparent irregularities in the AAIB report are an expired airworthiness certificate and that it conducted operations without proper authorisation.
Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow transport minister Chris Hunsinger wants ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) to intervene and will ask the chair of Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport to request this.