(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. StockFootage on June 24, 2022 at 7:12 pm

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

  2. Gabriel Mamaloukos on June 24, 2022 at 7:12 pm

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

  3. MuneebBaderoon on June 24, 2022 at 7:13 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.

  4. Done & Dusted on June 24, 2022 at 7:13 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!

  5. Petri Van Der Walt on June 24, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    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)

  6. Grant Warner on June 24, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Then wear can we fly with thies laws in the middle of Namibia
    Ther is no point of getting a drone

  7. FPV Zone on June 24, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    Dankie Riaan, goeie verduideliking

  8. trying2adult on June 24, 2022 at 7:21 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.

  9. How To on June 24, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    South Africans watching dont giving a shit😂😂

  10. MuneebBaderoon on June 24, 2022 at 7:24 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.😔

  11. Brudelay on June 24, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    10 KLOMITIRS!!

  12. The Barefaced Safari on June 24, 2022 at 7:26 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

  13. stonynotdusty on June 24, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    More sense than the UK.

  14. Josiah Mos on June 24, 2022 at 7:28 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.

  15. roland smith on June 24, 2022 at 7:29 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 😫

  16. Lehakwe Motaung on June 24, 2022 at 7:33 pm

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

  17. Adrian Cooney on June 24, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the heads up – I have just cancelled my drone order for a DJI Mini SE. Simply not worth all the hassle.

  18. Akhil Piyarlall on June 24, 2022 at 7:36 pm

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

  19. David van Niekerk on June 24, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    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.

  20. Alan Liebenberg on June 24, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Why , out of interest, would you spend so much money on drones, of various sizes used even to lift 4kg payloads , not bother to get a license ?

  21. Fred Swanepoel on June 24, 2022 at 7:39 pm

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

  22. Franco Marius Fourie on June 24, 2022 at 7:39 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

  23. Akhil Piyarlall on June 24, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    Pls make a video telling us where we can fly

  24. Danian Bez on June 24, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    Karen 😂😂😂

  25. Wilhelm Erasmus on June 24, 2022 at 7:46 pm

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

  26. Denis R on June 24, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    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…

  27. Fred Swanepoel on June 24, 2022 at 7:52 pm

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

  28. SigZA on June 24, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    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.

  29. Buhlebz Network on June 24, 2022 at 7:56 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

  30. Nosferatu_One on June 24, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Damn and I just wanted to get into flying a drone to take Cinematic footage of South Africa. But these rules sound extremely restricting.

  31. Phillip Roetz on June 24, 2022 at 7:58 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

  32. Women In Move Solutions Channel on June 24, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    There is a drone flying over our area and we do not know why it is flying so high over our homes and what information it is taking, for whom and poses security questions which your explanation clears out. Definitely this drone is violating the laws you have explained. Someone here says that there is no law…do what you want dude. This statement is very damaging : whether posted as joke or not. It promotes anachy. You will do our communities good by editing it and changing it to something positive. Riaan Roux is very legal, logical and constructive.

  33. KATHY WEIGEL HI-LO PHOTO &VIDEO on June 24, 2022 at 8:00 pm

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

  34. Wet Tissue on June 24, 2022 at 8:02 pm


  35. TH Nqolo on June 24, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you Riaan with this great information. I was not aware of most of these laws as I am a newbie in this field. All these laws I know they’re not made by you but I know they are unnecessarily too strict than in other countries. Owning a drone seems to be a sin in our country. As you explained these regulations, as I read further from your links, there is no area we can fly our drones in South Africa. I think we cannot even fly at the cemetery area or even at the farms. Am I correct?

  36. Mongezi Mabaso on June 24, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    So basically don’t buy a drone in SA.

  37. IamAlistair on June 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Drones will sadly die off soon. Hence the reason I’m selling my mini.

  38. Rydi on June 24, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    Because that is the LAW… Feel like I’m watching Judge Dredd "I didn’t break the law, I am the law!" Riaan, you definitely sound like you know what’s cooking with this whole drone story. I’ve come so close to buying a drone a few times, but from watching previous content creators I’ve always heard bits about drone law in SA I knew I had to find out more and I get it, the law is there for a reason and for privacy and safety concerns of others I completely agree, but I think we also agree that a lot of these laws are flawed like the people who made them. So I can see why so many laws will be disregarded and broken (just like traffic laws are broken all the time until you get caught).

    Anyways, the information is definitely more useful and understandable like this to me than reading all that saucery on the SACAA website. So thank you. Definitely something to think about before buying my drone now.

  39. Kahludi The Gentleman Malele on June 24, 2022 at 8:09 pm

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

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