Article updated 12 June 11h00.
After a Channel 24 article on the banning of drones in South Africa, it has been a struggle for most to get a definite answer out of the SACAA. But we finally have the latest on the banning of quadcopters from the SACAA’s Communications Manager, Kabelo Ledwaba.
Seems flying drones in SA is NOT illegal and NOT banned (yet).
The SACAA states: “Currently there are no regulations in place to enable and regulate operations of UAS in South African civil airspace. In accordance with the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act No. 13, of 2009).
The SACAA would once more like to reiterate that currently there are no guidelines or regulations that can help define and as such regulate the use of unmanned aircraft systems. This is a concern that the organisation is working towards addressing as soon as possible. Further, the SACAA has made an undertaking to have an interim guidance document as a provisional solution to enable restricted operational approval of UAS on a case-by-case basis until regulations are in place. It is envisaged that the interim document will be completed before 31 March 2015, or sooner.
The interim document in question will address most of the issues that have been rasied (sic) not only in south Africa, but are under consideration globally, for instance by the ICAO UASSG, and other international bodies. The SACAA is part of this ICAO Work Group.
In the meantime, the Regulator appeals to all stakeholders to err on the side of caution rather than risk unintended aviation disasters. Notwithstanding, we remain receptive to ideas that would contribute to the rapid development of a widely accepted regulatory framework.”
So to sum it all up – it will be a process to compile a set of guidelines as an interim solution and one should err on the side of caution in the meantime. So you can fly, commercially or personal – anywhere you want – as long as you do so responsibly. The jury however is still out on the SACAA's Frequently Asked Question article which is still a bit confusing.
We'll keep you up to date!