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Opportunity Issue 102

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

Aviation regulator is

Aviation regulator is flying high on the back of eight clean audits Credit: Ahmed Muntasir on Pexels Poppy Khoza, the Director of Civil Aviation at the SACAA, outlines the challenges and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for the South African civil aviation sector. How do you define the work of the SACAA? The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is one of the agencies falling under the Department of Transport (DoT). It is a Schedule 3A public entity. The primary mandate of the SACAA is to promote and maintain a safe, secure and sustainable civil aviation industry by regulating and overseeing the functioning and development of the aviation industry in an efficient, cost-effective and customer-friendly manner, according to international standards. This simply means the SACAA must ensure that aircraft are flown safely, airports are secured against unlawful interferences and the development of the aviation industry is promoted in an environmentally responsible manner. What are the main areas of the SACAA’s mandate? To regulate and oversee the safety and security of civil aviation operations in line with the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act No. 13 of 2009) in South Africa by upholding global standards as set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This is done with the aim of ensuring the prevention and reduction of aircraft accidents and security threats through our airlines and airports. To administer security oversight in line with the National Aviation Security Programme. To promote and maintain a sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector. To promote the development of the civil aviation industry. Aviation plays a critical role in providing connectivity, locally and globally, and by contributing towards the socio-economic development of the country. Which of these areas take up most of the time of the SACAA? The oversight mandate of aviation safety and security takes place on a continuous basis and largely justifies the establishment of this autonomous entity. The focus of the SACAA is largely of commercial, scheduled operations as well as oversight of aircraft maintenance organisations, aviation training organisations as well as aerodrome and air traffic service providers. The SACAA also deals with various complexities at times, such as attempts to lower the accident rate in the General Aviation sector. This is the sector with the highest accident rate, while the airline sector boasts a zero fatal accident rate in more than 30 years. In the past two years, the Regulator put a concerted effort into inculcating an aviation security culture among members of the industry that operate around the country’s airports as well as the users of services in these surroundings. This campaign was championed under the Year of the Security Culture campaign. Does the SACAA cooperate with organisations or bodies in SADC or Africa? In pursuit of a comprehensive and inclusive global aviation system, the agenda of the ICAO needs a balance of views and therefore, every voice counts. 38 |

AVIATION Poppy Khoza, SACAA Director of Civil Aviation Regulations for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) were recently strengthened. Credit: Gustaf von Zeipel on Unsplash _________________ The SACAA is fully transformed, with a racial profile of 89% black employees and a gender split that is currently at 51% females and 49% males. ________________ Notably, Africa’s initiative to boost regional integration came into effect in July 2019. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which is aimed at expanding regional trade by 54% by cutting 90% of the tariffs from goods traded across the continent to zero, has entered the implementation phase. For aviation, the AfCFTA, as well as other continental initiatives that include the Single African Air Transport Market, will be a game changer in stimulating intra-Africa trade if fully implemented. These complementary instruments are expected to stimulate demand for air travel and trade. It will also unlock the poor connectivity issues on the continent, resulting in the upgrading of transport infrastructure as well as increasing the diversification of economies that have traditionally relied on abundant natural resources. All of these depend on the pandemic recovery, as the vaccine is being rolled out by countries in efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SACAA participates in several platforms locally, regionally and globally, making its mark in the global discourse on civil aviation safety and security matters. This is achieved through participation as panel members in various ICAO work groups or as speakers and moderators in different technical events. Furthermore, stakeholder engagement continues to form an integral part of the SACAA’s regulatory mandate. The role of international and regional institutions such as the ICAO and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) cannot be underestimated, as every country has to contribute towards achieving the primary goal of regional aviation integration. In this regard the SACAA’s contribution to ICAO’s “No Country Left Behind” initiative includes the organisation’s own Africa Skills Assistance programme, which is encapsulated in the Regional Cooperation Strategy, developed to ensure targeted delivery on such programmes. This BIOGRAPHY With more than 20 years’ experience in senior positions within the aviation industry, Poppy Khoza is a trailblazer. She worked as a manager at South African Airways before moving to the SACAA in 2003. She was appointed to her current position of Director of Civil Aviation and CEO in 2013. She served for two consecutive years as the Chairperson of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Aviation Security Panel and received the Best Chief Executive Officer Award at the 2018 Annual Transport Awards. The SACAA has won the Best Performing Institution in Transport Award on multiple occasions under her leadership. Poppy Khoza, SACAA Director of Civil Aviation

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