(LAW)Private Drone Use in South Africa

(LAW)Private Drone Use in South Africa

PLEASE NOTE: I am a hobby recreational flyer and I am NOT licensed and have no RPL or ROC and I have to fly under these same restrictive laws. Please do not attack me for presenting these laws as I am not responsible for them, I am just giving you the information. If you have any questions or suggestions on changing the law, please contact the SACAA on the details provided below.

When it comes to drones and licensing in South Africa there is often an argument regarding private use and commercial operations. Though some of the regulations which apply to commercial operators also apply to personal users, there as some that fall away completely and others that change.

Unfortunately, the 2 main laws most get wrong for the personal use of a drone are the distance and the height one is allowed to fly. In this short video, I give a summary of what you may not do when it comes to the private use of a drone. Some people also try to re-interpret the law and make their own assumptions are created false assurance through their own justifications, but unfortunately, the law remains the law and should you get caught breaking the law then no amount of explanation will save you.

Often the argument is also used that their drone is so small, such as in the case of the Dji Mavic Mini, that it falls into the category of a toy. As soon as you launch your drone and you operate it as an adult, it is no longer a toy.

Links mentioned in the video:

No Fly Zone (NFZ):

Vuyisa Mxego
Inspector: Aerial Work (RPAS Team)
Tel: 011 545 1037

RPAS Email Address at SACAA:

S.A. CAA Drone Laws (short): http://www.caa.co.za/Pages/RPAS/Private%20Operations.aspx

Civil Aviation Regulations, 2011 Part 101 RPAS:


  1. Gabriel Mamaloukos on September 14, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Hi. What battery did you use for the hexacopter? Please answer your viewer’s questions.

  2. Wilhelm Erasmus on September 14, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    "no matter how you try and explain it to him, you are going to get a ticket"
    How bout a 2l coke?

  3. trying2adult on September 14, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Took a look at the links you referenced and as crazy as it sounds, the laws do seem quite strict. Good thing they rarely enforce these laws unless you are purposefully flying recklessly or for commercial purposes. I have literally flown my drone while having a chat with the police at a beach just outside Cape Town and they weren’t even bothered.

  4. Brudelay on September 14, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    10 KLOMITIRS!!

  5. roland smith on September 14, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I’m coming to SA in 2 weeks with my wife for a "holiday of a lifetime" (who lived there as a child) and I thought what better place to take a drone but having watched this vid I’m thinking ……what’s the point 😫

  6. The Barefaced Safari on September 14, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    You would have much more credibility if you kept to the same rules according to you no structures means you cannot fly higher than yourself which you clearly ignored in your baby phantom review video you cant try and rant about rules if flaunt them yourself you were also on a access road and access roads are public roads. Great video great info but the way you carry on about other people breaking the law and then breaking it yourself is not right

  7. Guy Taylor on September 14, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    How accurate is this ouk? There is a lof drone footage in Durban at the moment of "lockdown Durban" and the vloggers/drone pilots are flying close to a fixed building and guess what, there are SAPS officers close and nothing is happening. Unless the laws have very recently changed or this ouk is speaking kak

  8. MuneebBaderoon on September 14, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    In USA and many other countries, I think you only need a Part 107 (equivalent to our Part 101) to fly for profit. No ROC or RLA. Here in SA, you will have to charge R10k just for some wedding photos because you need to register your drone and a pilot with a company with ROC (over R20k), and pay their fees for each extra paid job you do (another R4k, depending). Forget about sending your drone sunset pictures to a photo sales site.😔

  9. The guy Of random on September 14, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Hi if I don’t have a license am i still allowed to post my drone videos on YouTube?

  10. Fred Swanepoel on September 14, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Riaan do you agree with these laws or would you like to see them changed?

  11. How To on September 14, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    South Africans watching dont giving a shit😂😂

  12. Done & Dusted on September 14, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Based on the restrictions which are outlined in this video it basically means that it should be illegal to own a drone for any purpose in South Africa based on just two rules:

    1) You may not fly within 50 metres of a public road.
    2) You need to have permission to fly over any and all people’s property.

    So where can you fly it in your own back yard?

    Be interesting to find out whether there have been any judgements handed down to enforce these rules.

    Imagine if this were to apply to micro-lights or even aircraft in general?

    Makes you think!

  13. Buhlebz Network on September 14, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    I always see drone shots of Johannesburg and Sandton where there is a lot of private property and freeways especially by foreign tourists are they excluded from these regulations if not who gave them permission so that we will go the same route

  14. Mongezi Mabaso on September 14, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    So basically don’t buy a drone in SA.

  15. Fred Swanepoel on September 14, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Now I have second thoughts to buy a drone,I will wait till I have immigrated to the Netherlands!!!!!!

  16. MuneebBaderoon on September 14, 2021 at 11:48 pm


    Thanks Riaan. Please see the attached link. I work in Waste for Government and cannot use a drone, even though I’ve completed my RPL and I have PPL (Private pilots licence). The laws are too prohibitive in South Africa. I’m not questioning the legality, but simply saying that the laws seem to be favouring monopoly by a few big companies. The USA and other countries have a different model for ensuring safety.

  17. Franco Marius Fourie on September 14, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    As far as I can tell the “middle of nowhere” example is not entirely true. First off, it’s the highest object within 300 meters of the RPA. Therefore, if the RPA is 301 meters away from me, I can fly at 150 ft.

    Secondly, I am of the opinion that the information is not presented very unambiguously by the SACAA, for example, some people will not refer to themselves as an object.

    Also, I could not find ANY map online which contains all the no fly zone’s for drones! You will find that many airstrips and helipads are left out, as well as prohibited airspace. 
    Surely the SACAA needs to take some responsibility to make it easier for new users to obtain this information, instead we need to try and navigate their website in order to find certain information and we also need to figure out how to read aeronautical charts. An interactive map which is updated regularly would be very handy and would also ensure that people are not unknowingly breaking the law (I believe this happens a lot).

    Thanks for taking the time to make this video

  18. Josiah Mos on September 14, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    These laws are absolutely insane and upsetting. 10km from a small almost never-in-use local airport?! Not higher than the highest structure in the area even if you are in the middle of nowhere!? You can’t fly at a family member’s wedding. You can be absolutely safe but still, break the law. These laws are way too strict. 😤 They should have classes of drones and be more lenient with drones with safety features such as propeller protection, obstacle avoidance, GPS positioning, GPS return to home, hold position, altitude hold etc. I can understand FPV drones are dangerous, but not all drones are. Cars and bikes and even cyclists on roads are much more dangerous, yet have much less restrictive limits. Airports should also be classified based on their size and have different limits.

  19. Kahludi The Gentleman Malele on September 14, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Essentially, in South Africa, no one is allowed to own and/or fly a drone for personal use.😔

  20. Phillip Roetz on September 14, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    Ja well no fine .. In SA we only need 2 permits.. Its permit R100 in duplicate or R200 and you can get it from your nearest ATM . It also works with traffic violations

  21. The guy Of random on September 15, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Pls make a video telling us where we can fly

  22. SigZA on September 15, 2021 at 12:04 am

    I see zero point in buying a drone for recreational purposes in SA other than maybe for drone racing, which I have no interest in. I have googled the laws in US and UK and they are far more reasonable. Both require exams, tests and licensing, but to a reasonable degree. The SACAA has unfortunately no interest, whatsoever, in making these laws more reasonable. Like they also have no interest in growing general aviation in SA. It takes 2 to 4 months to get a GA airworthiness certificate out of them while aircraft sit on the ground. It’s sad, but that’s where we are.

  23. FPV Zone on September 15, 2021 at 12:07 am

    Dankie Riaan, goeie verduideliking

  24. Sparrowhark on September 15, 2021 at 12:09 am

    According to you are not allowed to fly a drone so why are you are flying a drone. Are you a criminal, I think so

  25. Niel Joubert on September 15, 2021 at 12:11 am

    Riaan, I must say your info is well explained, BUT the way you explained it, is in a bit of a snotty way. ( just my opinion)
    My 2c is that how can you start off as an aerial photographer (photo/video) in this country with having to pay the ROC cost each month and not even making that money to then make a profit. So for a young person trying to make something of his life, its basically impossible without breaking THE LAW (like you say it)

  26. Kathy Weigel on September 15, 2021 at 12:11 am

    It would’ve been a shorter video to list when you CAN fly a drone:)

  27. Petri Van Der Walt on September 15, 2021 at 12:13 am

    Watse tiepe boom rook jy tjom?? Hahaha daar is baie reels ja maar die wat jy gee is nie feitlik korrek nie ( SACAA se regulasies om te vlieg is baie mooi uiteengesit)

  28. 90's KID on September 15, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Very informative Riaan. Where can i get these a RPL or ROC license as i would like to fly it commercially.

  29. Lehakwe Motaung on September 15, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I am not trying to be mean but not many people are gonna follow these

  30. David van Niekerk on September 15, 2021 at 12:18 am

    Dankie Riaan vir die video en verduiliking. Ja die afdwing van wetging in die RSA is maar ‘n probleem. ‘n Motorvoertuig se liksens moet jaarliks hernu word en baie voertuie se liksens word nooit hernu nie.

  31. Denis R on September 15, 2021 at 12:24 am

    I haven’t double-checked accuracy / knowledge of this guy on the SA rules applicable, but if he is accurate, SA rules are quite strict. I’m recently licenced RPL in Australia, and the rules here are bit more reasonable, imho…

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