SANParks reminder: Flying drones at parks will lead to arrest

2018-02-20 09:40 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: iStock

Cape Town - South African National Parks (SANParks) reminds the public that flying drones is not permitted in any National Park "irrespective of what the purpose may be".

The warning came from SANParks after a visitor to Kruger National Park (KNP) was caught flying a drone in the Park.

KNP’s General Manager Communications and Marketing, William Mabasa, says that in a recent operation with South African Police Service and the Park’s Protection Services, the Park arrested the day-visitor for illegally flying the drone.

"We would like to warn such people and other drone users that should they be found flying them in the Park at any time, they will be arrested on the spot and their equipment will be confiscated," he says, adding that SANParks thanks the guests who reported the recent incident to the nearest Section Ranger. 

ALSO SEE: SANParks on the hunt for illegal drone users in Kruger

According to SANParks, drone-flying is prohibited in terms of NEMA Protected Areas Act which states that “it is illegal to fly below 2 500 feet above the highest point of any national park, with any aircraft/ drone without the express permission of the Management Authority of the particular National Park”.

This means that legislated protected areas with restricted airspace are no-fly zones for all unauthorised aircrafts, explains SANParks.

Mabasa adds that this is not only a contravention of the NEMA Protected Areas Act, but there are also restrictions in terms of the aerial filming rights and therefore an infringement of SANParks’ filming and photography policy.

SEE: 12 Things you need to know about SA’s new drone rules

For more information on drone-flying rules and other important facts you need to know about flying drones in SA, click here.

Impact on animals

“Flying such aircraft illegally in the Park can negatively impact on the well-being of animals as well as the experience of other visitors; to such an extent that it can end up disturbing and stalking animals," says Mabasa.

"We encourage all law-abiding citizens to continue to report such incidents to the Emergency Call Centre numbers 013 735 4064/013 735 0197/ 076 801 9679 so that these people can be caught in the act," he adds.

ALSO SEE: Study: Drones more damaging than bird strikes to planes

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