Drone Council asks regulator to loosen laws

24th June 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

The South African drones sector needs to unite to achieve four key objectives to ensure it remains current, relevant and sustainable, drone affiliation organisation Drone Council of South Africa chairperson Irvin Phenyane said on June 24.

In the opening address of the Drone and Unmanned Aviation Conference, he said the council was liaising with aviation industry regulatory body the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) about improving the development of the sector.

However, Phenyane suggested that the SACAA is continuing to be overly cautious about loosening some drone regulations that would enable the sector to expand and keep up with the latest technology and use drones in new applications.

Therefore, he pointed out that a lot of the work being done by the council and SACAA was about informing the SACAA about where the industry could go with less stringent regulations and what stakeholders ultimately want and need to develop.

“We are specifically saying, as the Drone Council, let us put steps [in place] to change the narrative. Because if you want to change the narrative we need to change the dialogue,” said Phenyane.

In changing the dialogue, he said the council wanted to carry four discussion items to the SACAA to transform the industry.

These four factors are that the drones industry wants to undo its current “self-contradictions”, according to Phenyane.

In undoing these contradictions, he explained that the industry expressed a willingness to self-organise, self-regulate, self-transform and self-innovate.