Civil Aviation Authority gets clean audit award from Auditor-General for the third year in a row

published: 22 september 2015
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Civil Aviation Authority gets clean audit award from Auditor-General for the third year in a row

22 September, 2015 - For the third year in a row, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has received a clean audit award from the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA). This recognition makes the SACAA one of a few entities that received this award for the third year running since the inception of the awards three years ago. The Authority also recorded 100% against performance targets set for the 2014/15 financial year.

A clean audit indicates that no significant findings were noted during the audit process and that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the organisation. It also signifies that there were no material findings in relation to the performance of the organisation against the set objectives and performance targets. A clean audit also indicates that the entity had complied with applicable legislation regarding financial management, internal control and other related matters.

"Entrenching good governance across the organisation and elevating organisational performance in relation to the mandate were some of the key priorities for the SACAA over the last three financial years. The Auditor-General’s pronouncements over the last three years and the continuing global recognition suggest that we are accomplishing our goals. Whilst we are thrilled by the continuous local and global recognition, we are also cognisant of the fact that organisational performance is not and can never be a once-off incident. As such, the litmus test will be to maintain these remarkable records," said Ms Poppy Khoza, who heads the SACAA as Director of Civil Aviation.

According to Khoza, in addition to the clean audit, the SACAA met all and exceeded some of its performance targets set in its annual performance plans. "Not only did we meet all our set targets, but in some instances, performance targets were even exceeded. This demonstrates a consistent improvement in performance as performance was at 74% during the 2011/12 financial year, 84% in 2012/13, and 94% in 2013/14. The 100% performance is an incredible achievement considering the fact that the SACAA is self-funded and applies the user-pays principle. During the last financial year, the SACAA had to implement cost-containment measures as decreed by the National Treasury. This meant that we had to elevate performance with fewer resources; and I am glad that my team did not disappoint," Ms Khoza enthused.

A Cycle of Ground-breaking Achievements

According to Khoza, the SACAA’s persistent commitment to service delivery over the last three years has led to recognition by independent external parties and in the process earned the organisation a number of ‘firsts’ in various fields.

Below are some of the notable achievements by the SACAA over the last three years.

1. The SACAA scooped the Best-performing Institution Award amongst all Modes of Transport during the inaugural Transport Awards hosted by the Minister of Transport late in 2014.
2. Courtesy of the SACAA, South Africa is one of a handful of countries world-wide to introduce comprehensive ‘drone’ regulations. In addition, South Africa was the first country on the continent and most parts of the world to issue a ‘drone’ pilot licence as well as an approval for a ‘drone’ flight training school.
3. The appointment of Ms Poppy Khoza as Director of Civil Aviation made her the first black woman in the country to do so.
4. Through the SACAA, South Africa was appointed Chairperson of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Aviation Security Panel. ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations tasked with enhancing civil aviation security across the world by, among others, developing standards and recommended practices as well as global policy and legal framework relevant to aviation security sector. South Africa is represented by the Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Ms Poppy Khoza, making her the first woman to take up the position.
5. The South African air cargo security systems received the nod from the European Union as well as the United States’ Transport Security Administration. The two affirmations place South Africa in a unique position, making the country the only one on the continent with such recognition and agreements in place. This means that South Africa is acknowledged as one of the countries where the level of aviation security is regarded as robust and reliable. This benefits air carriers operating between South Africa and the two regions.
6. Over the last few years the SACAA has been providing technical training and assistance to its African peers with the aim of improving aviation safety and security across the continent.

For close to seven decades, South Africa has been a Signatory State to the Chicago Convention of 1944, which established ICAO. This means that South Africa is expected to exercise civil aviation safety and security oversight in line with ICAO standards and recommended practices, which are underpinned by certain specified critical elements. These elements are at the centre of ICAO and other reputable global civil aviation organisations’ auditing exercises. Auditing exercises are aimed at determining a particular country’s level of compliance with globally accepted civil aviation safety and security standards. Noncompliance can lead to the downgrading of that particular country’s civil aviation safety and security rating. Downgrading has a direct and undesirable bearing on civil aviation operations.

Khoza said that the South African aviation industry continued to get global recognition for its world-class safety and security standards. In relation to ICAO compliance, South Africa’s ICAO Effective Implementation Rating was close to 84%; which is above the world average of 62%. Moreover, the 84% exclude the aircraft accident and investigation function which was not audited by ICAO as well as progress made by the SACAA since ICAO’s last audit in 2013. In addition, the SACAA played a critical role in ensuring that South Africa maintained its Category 1 status as declared by the United States Federal Aviation Administration. This means that South Africa’s admirable safety record allows air carriers from the United States and South Africa to operate freely between the two countries.

"These and other accomplishments serve as the necessary encouragement for us to push forward in meeting our organisational goals. These achievements also resonates well with our vision to be rated amongst the top 10 CAAs in the world," Ms Khoza explained.

According to Khoza, all these achievements are crucial, considering the catalytic role that civil aviation plays in the economy. "A 2011 report released by Oxford Economics estimates that the aviation sector contributes over R50 billion to South Africa’s GDP, making it a key role player in the economy. In addition, the aviation sector is said to support approximately 227,000 jobs in South Africa."

According to Khoza one of the entity’s immediate goals is to ensure that the SACAA’s organisational structure and business processes are revamped and tailored to the needs of its diverse stakeholders. "In essence, we have embarked and are about to complete a process that will usher in an organisational structure that is geared towards ensuring efficiency and alignment with the SACAA’s mandate and international obligations as well as dedicated focus on industry dynamics. In addition, we have introduced an enterprise business system which will bring efficiency into our business processes. These two initiatives are key to elevating organisational performance and bring to life the vision of being rated amongst the top ten civil aviation authorities in the world," Khoza elaborated.


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