Can I fly a drone in South Africa? What are the drone laws applicable in South Africa and how to know if you allowed to fly. Find out more below in our summarized and detailed information section for new drone pilots seeking information to check whether they are allowed to fly or not and under what conditions drone operation is permitted.

 
HOBBY & RECREATIONAL DRONE LAWS IN SOUTH AFRICA (FLYING FOR FUN)
SHORT SUMMARY

UNDER THE NEW REGULATIONS HOBBY DRONE PILOTS:

  • Do not need an RPL (Remote Pilots Licence).
  • Do not need to register their RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) aircraft.
  • Do not need an aviation medical.
  • Can fly RPAS up to 7kg weight.
  • Can fly up to the height of the highest object in 300m of the drone (up to a max of 400 feet).
  • Can fly up to 500m away from the pilot, while maintaining direct line of sight (RVLOS).
  • Need to keep more than 50m from people.
  • Need to keep more than 50m from roads.
  • Need to keep more than 50m from buildings.
  • Need to keep more than 10km from airports.
  • May only fly RPAS in daylight and clear weather conditions.
  • May not fly in No Fly Zones.
  • May not fly on any property without permission from the property owner.

 
LONG SUMMARY AS PER SOUTH AFRICAN CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY (SACAA) AS ON 10 APRIL 2020
Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) Private Operations

Private operation - means the use of an RPA for an individual's personal and private purposes where there is no commercial outcome, interest or gain; 

Restricted visual line-of-sight (R-VLOS)* - means an operation within 500 m of the remote pilot and below the height of the highest obstacle within 300 m of the RPA, which the remote pilot maintains direct unaided visual contact with the RPA to manage its flight and meet separation and collision avoidance responsibilities;  

General

  1. It is the full responsibility of the remote pilot of the RPAS to fly his/her aircraft safely and not endanger safety of another aircraft, any person or property.
  2. The remote pilot must observe all statutory requirements relating to liability, privacy and any other laws enforceable by any other authorities. 

Limitations and restrictions
Please adhere to the following for the safe operation of RPAS: 

1.      Private operations of RPAS shall be conducted:

a.  only in R-VLOS
b.  with a Class 1A or 1B RPA (mass < 7 kg, Impact energy* < 15 kJ) 
2.      Do not fly RPA: 
a.  Near manned aircraft
b.  10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad or airfield)
c.  In controlled, restricted or prohibited
3.      Do not fly RPA 50m or closer from: 
a.  Any person or group of persons (like sport fields, road races, stadiums, schools, social events, etc.)
b.  Public road
c.  Any property without permission from property owner 
4.    Only fly RPA in daylight and clear weather conditions

The above infromation is sourced directly from the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Click here for source.