DA calls for hearings into regulatory loopholes in the export/import of civilian aircraft in South Africa
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to Ruth Bengu, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, requesting that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) provide a briefing on "regulatory loopholes" related to the import and export of civilian aircraft and civilian aircraft parts in South Africa.
A report by the Conflict Awareness Project alleges that Andrei Kosolapov and Sergey Denisenko, two known associates of Viktor Bout, the so-called "Lord of War", attempted to set up a launch pad for clandestine arms trafficking using a network of front companies set up in Mauritius (see here - PDF).
Numerous aviation brokers, based in South Africa, allegedly tried to source aircraft for Andrei Kosolapov and Sergey Denisenko for possible use in countries such as Iran, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in violation of arms embargoes put in place by the United Nations.
This is also not the first case that has raised questions about the state of regulation of the import and export of civilian aircraft in South Africa. In 2009, a company called Tigris International, attempted to sell three AirbusA300 aircraft, bought from South China Air, to a civilian airline company called Saha Airlines in Iran.
Conflict Awareness Project's report does not produce evidence that conventional weapons were exported from South Africa to any country in violation of United Nations arms embargoes. However, the report does raise serious questions about the regulations of the import and export of civilian aircraft and civilian aircraft parts in South Africa.