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Aircraft register

What are the requirements for entry in the domestic aircraft register?

Applications for the registration of an aircraft and the issuance of a certificate of registration should be made to the director of civil aviation and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). Where an aircraft is imported into South Africa for the first time, the application should be made on a CAR47-A1 form.

Mortgages and encumbrances

Is there a domestic register for aircraft mortgages, encumbrances and other interests? If so, what are the requirements and legal effects of registration?

Pursuant to the Recognition of Rights Act, a mortgage can be registered over an aircraft. The SACAA maintains a separate aircraft mortgage register. An aircraft mortgage takes the form of a prescribed standard form SACAA document called an MAR2.1. Due to its simplistic nature, a deed of mortgage is usually attached as an annexure, setting out further and more detailed terms and conditions of the mortgage. The MAR2.1 creates a statutory sale of the execution right in favour of the mortgagee. The additional deed of mortgage establishes contractual rights and obligations between the mortgagor and the mortgagee.


What rules and procedures govern the detention of aircraft?

Criminal Procedure Act The Criminal Procedure Act provides for the forfeiture of an article (eg, an aircraft) to the state if it was used in the commission of a crime. However, such forfeiture will not affect the rights of any person – other than the convicted person – in the property, if it is proved that such other person:

  • did not know that the property was being or would be used in connection with the commission of a crime, or could not have prevented such use; and
  • may lawfully possess the article.‚Äč

Customs duties Where an aircraft has not been duly entered by the importer from a customs duties perspective, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) may seize the aircraft. Further, where the aircraft has not been duly entered within the timeframe permitted by SARS, including the payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) on importation, SARS may instigate the sale of the aircraft and use the proceeds of sale to cover any of its costs and the outstanding VAT on importation. The owner of, and any other person with an interest in, the aircraft is therefore subject to indirect liability for VAT on importation of the aircraft.

Safety and maintenance

What rules and procedures govern aircraft safety and maintenance?

The Civil Aviation Regulations govern aircraft safety and maintenance. The director of civil aviation issues the South African Civil Aviation Technical Standards which also govern, among other things, aircraft safety and maintenance.


What is the state of regulation on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in your jurisdiction?

The Ministry of Transportation and the SACAA added a chapter on remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to the Civil Aviation Regulations, which came into effect on July 1 2015, and issued a number of other supplementary documents, including technical standards and aeronautical information circulars. Under these laws and standards, South Africa permits different forms of RPAS operation, including private, commercial, corporate and non-profit operations.

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