The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a Regional Economic Organisation consisting of fifteen (15) Member States. These are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As of the year 2012, SADC has a population of about 257.7 million inhabitants and a gross domestic product of US$471.1 billion (www.sarpm.net/stakeholders/sadc).
The aviation sector plays a vital part in contributing to the economies of the SADC Member States. Because tourism contributes to the movement of people into and out of the SADC Region, and within the SADC Member States, air transport is increasingly becoming the preferred mode of transport.
The SADC Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology requires Member States to harmonise their policies and procedures on civil aviation and foster the development of International Civil Aviation through cooperative arrangements.
SADC Member States have found it imperative to establish a regional organisation responsible for enhancing the safety of civil aviation in the region. This results from the Member States’ lack of technical expertise and the need for technical staff to fulfil safety requirements of the Region.
The aim of SADC Aviation Safety Organisation (SASO), established under the Principle of Subsidiarity, is to promote the safe and efficient use and development of civil aviation within the SADC Region. SASO Secretariat is a legal entity hosted by and observing the laws of the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The principle of subsidiarity, approved by the SADC Council of Ministers at its meeting held in Grand Baie, Mauritius, in August 2004, is a cost-effective means that promotes accountability and sustainability. It is in line with the SADC Treaty, which provides for the involvement of the people of the SADC Region and key stakeholders in the process of regional integration.