Drones in Zeekoevlei – do you have a shotgun?

21 Aug 2017 Posted by in Environment, News and Events | 5 comments

Hi All

I received the following from a resident “On Sunday 6 August and Sunday 13 August drones were being used over the vlei and on both days came very close to and over my property while I was in my garden. On 6 August the drone approached from the water’s edge and faced directly into my garden and house. Yesterday one came again from the water’s edge directly over my garden and a second one (white) flew above my house and garden and at one stage was hovering over the boat yard and rowing shelters so close that it could probably see into my bedroom window and definitely into my garden. 


I assume that the drones were being controlled by someone in the yacht club grounds but equally could have been operated by a resident(s).

As I felt extremely uncomfortable and felt that my privacy was being invaded by these drones I did some research and found out the following:

According to the regulations (which came into effect in 2015) regarding drones, 

  1. You need to have a CAA approved and valid remote pilot licence as well as a letter of approval to operate the drone.
  2. The letter of approval will be valid for 12 months. While you do not need to have these documents when buying a drone, the seller will have to make you aware of the requirements as stipulated in the SACAA regulations.
  3. Drones cannot fly more than 400ft or 120m above the ground, nor within in 10km of an aerodrome.
  4. Drones cannot be flown within 50m above or close to a person or crowd of people, structure or building – without prior SACAA approval. Nor can you fly drones adjacent to or above:
    1. a nuclear power plant
    2. a prison
    3. a police station
    4. a crime scene
    5. a court of law
    6. national key points
  5. The rules do apply to toy aircraft or unmanned free balloons or other types of aircraft which cannot be managed on a real-time basis during flight.
  6. You cannot use a public road for the take-off or landing of a drone.
  7. You cannot use a drone in adverse weather conditions, where your view of the drone is obstructed  since visual contact  must be maintained with the RPA by the operator – unless in approved beyond visual line of sight or night operations.
  8. Drones need to give way to all manned aircraft and should avoid passing over, under or in front of manned aircraft, unless it passes well clear and takes into account the effect of aircraft wake turbulence.
  9. RPA pilots will be required to tune into the air traffic services for the controlled airspace they will be flying the drone, reporting co-ordinates to said traffic controllers – all flight activity also needs to be recorded in a logbook.
  10. Drones cannot be used to transport cargo or make deliveries
  11. Drones cannot tow another aircraft, perform aerial or aerobatic displays or be flown in formation or swarm;
  12. All incidents involving an RPA must be reported, especially where there is any injury to a person; damage to property; or destruction of the RPA beyond economical repair.

In addition, with reference to the Bill of Rights within the South African Constitution, I have the right to privacy


I would appreciate it if you could inform the members of the Yacht Club as well as the SRA of the regulations as well as the fact that all residents have a right to privacy and drone owners need to adhere to the regulations as well as respect the rights of residents at all times. “

The Yacht club will be discussing this at their meeting 7th Sept 2017.

If you are a resident or visitor to the area and you have/use/control a drone, please take note of the regulations above.


Regards Richard

on 15 September I received more information, see below

Input from the Nature Reserve side in response to a query from the commodore of ZVYC : Drones cannot be used on the nature reserve without the approval of the management authority. Drones can be referred to the reserve staff and after hours to the environmental rangers on 083 499 1717. Apart from the Civil Aviation authorities legislation which governs drones; what this refers to is the land that has been proclaimed as nature reserve. In Zeekoevlei this is all the shore edge and water. This area is covered under the protected Areas Act.

And from a resident: Over and above the Civil Aviation Authority regulations for the operation of drones the City of Cape Town also has legal requirements. 

  • No drones may be operated anywhere in the City of Cape Town without prior permission, unless on private property only.
  • Drone operations over and above your property is a violation of your privacy.
  • Drones operating in Nature Reserves also operate illegally, unless permission is given by Nature Conservation for such operation.
  • If you suspect that a drone is being used illegally, try to get names, addresses and times and place of operations, with a photo if possible, or contact Law Enforcement to confiscate the drone.

It appears that South Africa is one of the leaders when it comes to legislation and drone operation. Although the regulations were published in 2015 I think there is a lack of awareness among the general public about these regulations. I hope that Zeekoevlei residents will now be more aware and will act within the legal framework.

With thanks and kind regards

Come and Join the team

Local is Lekker

  1. Charlene08-21-17

    Thanks, Richard. I don’t have a shotgun and hope I never need one, but I’d love to HAVE and use one if someone so inconsiderately uses his or her toys to invade my home privacy.

    • MoonDance08-22-17

      for you Charlene I guess a water cannon would be more appropriate 🙂

  2. Vanessa Farr08-24-17

    Wow. This makes me anxious: what if they’re using the drones to check out our individual security arrangements? What if this helps someone plan robberies?!

    • robin hauptle09-18-17

      Hey Veeness 😀 when u see another1 give me a call i can come and ground it if you like 😉

  3. Richard Cammell08-24-17

    not just robberies, those things look lethal to me, I have nightmares of one getting caught in my hair

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