WATCH: South Africa’s aviation system has 0% fatal accident rate with commercial airlines and the best safety systems in Africa, says transport minister

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, South African Civil Aviation Authority CEO Poppy Khoza and ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu. Picture: ACSA/X

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, South African Civil Aviation Authority CEO Poppy Khoza and ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu. Picture: ACSA/X

Published Mar 7, 2024


South Africa’s aviation systems are the best in Africa and among the top 20 safest in the world.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga held a briefing on the state of the aviation sector and upcoming developments attended by ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu, South African Civil Aviation Authority CEO Poppy Khoza and Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) CEO Nozipho Mdawe in Pretoria on Tuesday.

According to the transport minister, South Africa participated in 4 key international safety and security audits and assessments by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the United States safety and security regulators namely, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the past 4 years.

She said ICAO rated South Africa’s safety oversight system at 91.11% thereby placing it at number one in Africa and number 18 in the world, alongside Norway.

“I am elated to announce that South Africa performed very well in all these audits and assessments. The US-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognised South Africa's safety oversight system as meeting ICAO’s safety standards and recommended practices and therefore confirmed that South Africa retains its Category 1 status with the standards of the United States International Oversight Safety Audit (IOSA) Programme,” said Chikunga.

In her speech, she also revealed that The Transport Security Administration granted South Africa’s cargo security system permanent recognition following an assessment of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and that South Africa still holds the European Union (EU) recognition for the States cargo security system.

The transport minister also said that South Africa is proud of its continued 0% fatal accident rate held in the commercial airlines sector for nearly four decades and hopes to continue on this path for decades to come.

“One of the current administration’s strategic targets is to reduce accidents in the general aviation sector by 50%. At the end of the previous 2022/23 financial year, the number of accidents had decreased from 147 to 113 accidents, which translated into a 23% decrease from the 2021/22 period.

“The fatal accidents decreased from 12 to 9 fatal accidents, translating into a 25% decrease with the number of fatalities decreasing by 29.4%,” she said.

Minister Chikunga also revealed that she was concerned when South Africa recorded a spike in incidents during the 2021/22 period at the height of COVID-19 due to pilots being out of practice which was caused by a lack of refresher training during the hard lock down periods.

She said that they have recorded 97 accidents to date as they head to closing the 2023/2024 financial year and are projecting these numbers to marginally be lower than the previous reporting period, the number of fatal accidents has increased to 13, which is four more than data from the 2022/23 financial year.

“To curb these accidents, which happen in a non-scheduled private flying space, the SACAA has developed and implemented a General Aviation Safety Strategy in consultation with the industry where we are employing reputable safety strategies to attain a reduction in both categories - accidents and fatalities,” she said.