Hunter’s drone needs no li­cence, per­mit to fly- lawyer

Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Sandile Nkam­bule High Court

he drone that was flown by pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Vusi Hunter Shongwe with spy cam­eras land­ing him­self in hot soup as he was ar­rested for flout­ing avi­a­tion laws, needs no li­cence or per­mit to fly.

This was yes­ter­day an ar­gu­ment raised by Shongwe’s lawyer Der­rick Jele from Ro­bi­son Ber­tram At­tor­neys who ar­gued that the drone in ques­tions can­not fly above 30 me­tres of height, hence it is not a threat or dan­ger to the type air­craft fly­ing in Swazi air space.

The mat­ter in which Shongwe al­legedly con­tra­vened the Swazi­land Civil Avi­a­tion Reg­u­la­tions is be­fore High Court Judge Cyril Maphanga and the crown is rep­re­sented by Macebo Nx­u­malo.

Jele made this sub­mis­sions when

Tcross ex­am­in­ing the crown’s wit­ness in Swazi­land Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (SWACAA) Flight En­gi­neer Si­mon Kitibiwa who gave ev­i­dence in as far as the avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tions are con­cerned.

Jele who, dur­ing cross ex­am­i­na­tion, pro­duced two toys a re­mote con­trolled he­li­copter and a hand made kite, sub­mit­ted that the two are also not part of the air­craft that needs a li­cence or per­mit to fly.

“A drone does not need a pi­lot cer­tifi­cate even a child can fly it and ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions that were crafted by Mandla Mamba who was once em­ployed by SWACAA, the drone has not been clas­si­fied un­der those air­craft that need cer­tifi­cates,” Jele told Kutibiwa.

Jele told the wit­ness that a type cer­ti­fied air­craft has to have a pi­lot on board yet a pi­lot­less one does not.

Jele put it to Kutibiwa that the SWACAA Ad­vi­sory Cir­cu­lar on the reg­u­la­tions of drone was put in place in Fe­bru­ary 2017 yet Shongwe was ar­rested for vi­o­lat­ing same in 2012 where there was none in place.

Adding, Jele put it to the wit­ness that to con­firm same, SWACAA has just tabled the a Bill to reg­u­late drones at the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Cham­bers who in turn will ta­ble it be­fore Par­lia­ment be­fore it is put into an Act.

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