Local police arrested the 25-year-old culprit as he was flying his drone over Via della Conciliazione, the road that leads towards Saint Peter’s Square where Pope Francis was leading Sunday prayers.
“He was given an order to leave the country, while his drone and camera were confiscated,” police said in a statement.
The South African embassy declined to comment on the man’s expulsion.
It is illegal to overfly Italy’s capital, including with a drone, due to security measures.
Last year, two French tourists were fined around €3,000 for flying a drone near the Colosseum.
The duo’s drone was confiscated and destroyed.