South African civil aviation authority chief Zakes Myeza is to leave his post following a decision to end the country’s practice of having a commissioner for civil aviation and a separate head of the CAA.

The CAA is insisting that Myeza’s departure is unrelated to the recent suspension of South African carrier Nationwide Airlines’ maintenance licence and the grounding of its fleet.

Myeza was only appointed in March last year. In a statement the CAA says that, following two international audits on the country’s civil aviation industry, “a concern was raised” about the separate commissioner and CEO roles.

South African transport minister Jeff Radebe has issued a new directive through which the two roles will be merged into a single position.

No name has been disclosed for the combined post. The CAA says that its board has “reluctantly” accepted the “regrettable” decision for Myeza to step down in order to clear the way for the restructuring.

“We would like to put it on record that both the decision to restructure the authority and for the CEO to step down had nothing to do with the recent enforcement actions taken against non-compliant industry players,” it adds.

Nationwide Airlines was grounded by the CAA at the end of November, three weeks after an engine detached from one of its Boeing 737 aircraft during take-off from Cape Town.