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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Aviation conference explores safety and security in industry [Video]

SA's aviation sector was recognised among the safest in the world with a 0% fatal accident rate held in the commercial airlines sector for nearly four decades

Deputy Minister of Transport Lisa Mangcu emphasized the importance of aviation in the South African economy including the need to maintain safety and security.

Mangcu made the remarks on the first day of the of the three-day 2024 National Aviation Conference (NAC) at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.  

Hosted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), the NAC which is in its fifth installment, is an annual key event that provides a shared platform for interaction between the regulator and the aviation industry.

The third saw the SACAA Airshow featuring spectacular jet aerobics that took place at the Wonderboom Airport.


Under the theme “advocating for aviation safety, security, and sustainability,” this year’s event continues the global deliberations derived from the 41st International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) General Assembly resolutions, with focus on how they impact on South Africa’s local aviation industry.

Some discussion topics from the NAC included the state of Aviation Safety in South Africa, the integration of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and exploring the impact of cybersecurity in aviation among others.

ALSO READ: SA aviation sector recognised as among safest in the world

Aviation safety

Mangcu the NAC is a significant conference for the aviation sector.

“We were listening to sustainability, safety and security because those are very important aspects especially in the advent of 9/11.”

He said the SACAA is always under mentioned in relation to the role it plays in the aviation industry.

“We always jump to the figures of tourists who came, how much money they generated. But we forget the most important, they are attracted to come here because they are assured that our airlines are safe, airspace is safe and our airport infrastructure is also perfect.

“So, the regulator’s role is very important to integrate and talk to the industry to make sure that it is ready and geared up to continue striving for even higher safety standards that we are experiencing, and that will grow the economy and bring tourists, create jobs which is what we want,” said Mangcu.

Gender equality and transformation

Speaking about gender participation in the aviation sector, Mangcu said transformation is a very critical and central part of making sure that the aviation industry reflects the demographics of gender equality.

“The role of the regulator is very important in setting the standards and tone and also making sure that we monitor these as we don’t want to go to a place where we get quotas and say any airline must have so many black pilots and so many females.

“We are hoping that through the regulator, we will get the industry to see the need to transform, because we are building a new society and we really believe that together we can do this and do more,” Mangcu said.

SA number one

Last month, South Africa’s aviation sector was recognised as among the safest in the world.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga highlighted South Africa’s continued 0% fatal accident rate held in the commercial airlines sector for nearly four decades saying the country has been recognised for its safety standards in the aviation sector.

“South Africa performed very well in all these audits and assessments. ICAO rated South Africa’s safety oversight system at 91.11% thereby placing South Africa at number one in Africa and number 18 in the world alongside Norway,” adding that the country aims to maintain a 0% fatal accident rate record for decades to come.

For the first time this year, the NAC event also had a dedicated session for discussions on sustainability, which was a key outcome from the 41st ICAO General Assembly. Not only is this focus timely but it also responds to the direction the global aviation is headed as the world puts more emphasis on environmental issues.

The NAC event celebrates 25 years of the national civil aviation regulator’s existence in South Africa with Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, giving a keynote address at the event.

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