South African drone operators flying without the correct licenses beware, a police crackdown is imminent.
In February, new charge codes were added to the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) database, ending a technical blockage that had been preventing the police from prosecuting illegal drone actions in the country.
The police have written these codes into the Crime Administration System which now makes it possible to open a docket, investigate and take them to court.
For CUAASA it’s a much-needed case of a rising. For years the drone companies they represent have spent time and millions of rands acquiring the necessary documentation to establish their businesses legally, only to be undercut by illegal operators that could act outside of the law.
“We’ve got a large illegal part to the market that’s been fuelled by the fact that there has been little enforcement and it’s left people with the perception that there are no regulations.”
With charge codes in place, both the SACAA and SAPS have now made it clear that private use, hobbyist, and illegal operators must be held accountable.
If found guilty you could be fined R5,000 to R42,000 for a first offence, and even face time in jail.
On the top of the list is a charge code that holds drone retailers accountable for failing to inform consumers about South African drone laws when purchasing a drone.
“Many people purchase drones without being told what the drone laws are. We’ve got to start there. Retailers are not educating the people buying these products. Once the retailer has notified you, you then can no longer claim you didn’t know.”
“Anyone selling drones needs to notify their consumers with a prescribed notification. It is something you must give to your customers and have them sign and keep on record. Any retailer that doesn’t do this is immediately guilty of a criminal offence.”
Without a doubt, there is a massive demand for drone technology.
Sourced by Business Insider South Africa