The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) says it has not banned drones from operating in SA’s civil aviation airspace, but rather that no unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) meets with its requirements.
In a statement, SACAA says it has never issued any specific notice or regulation banning the use of unmanned aircraft systems.
“The current civil aviation regulations prescribe specific requirements for operating an aircraft in the South African airspace. To date, no UAS [unmanned aerial system] has been able to comply with these requirements.”
SACAA, established by the Civil Aviation Act, maintains a safe, secure and sustainable civil aviation environment, by regulating and overseeing the functioning and development of the industry.
The authority adds it has not given permission to any entity to operate a drone. “Those that are flying any type of unmanned aircraft are doing so illegally.”
An April bid by Kagiso Media subsidiaries Kagiso New Media and Jacaranda FM to investigate the viability of drones to provide real-time, reliable traffic updates to Gauteng residents was suspended shortly after take-off because of regulatory issues.
SACAA adds the unmanned aircraft systems sector constitutes a relatively new component of the civil aviation framework.
It, together with civil aviation authorities worldwide and under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, is working to understand, define and ultimately integrate this aspect into the civil aviation sector.