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Gauteng uses drones to monitor construction sites

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MEC Jacob Mamabolo says using drones can address cost and quality issues in infrastructure. (Photo source: SAGov News)
MEC Jacob Mamabolo says using drones can address cost and quality issues in infrastructure. (Photo source: SAGov News)

The Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) is using five unmanned drones to monitor its infrastructure projects across the Gauteng city region's development corridors.

This was revealed by Gauteng infrastructure development MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, commenting on the impact of the province's drone programme in monitoring and delivering building projects.

In May, Mamabolo announced drones will be used to monitor progress at the province's various sites of construction over the next three years.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said the drones help the department check whether construction on site is in accordance with architectural designs. It can also ensure "every cent is accounted for", thereby also contributing to the fight against corruption.

The DID is able to monitor building projects such as new schools, clinics, libraries and hospitals, among others. "Through the work we are doing, we are trying to build a department that can sustain service delivery.

"We have one drone per region because since the launch, we have taken the position that drones can make infrastructure delivery efficient and effective."

The drone programme is a partnership between the DID and University of Johannesburg, which resulted in the department signing a memorandum of understanding with the university in July, to accelerate the delivery of public infrastructure through smart technologies.

Mamabolo explained that the objective of the partnership is to build on infrastructure delivery analytics capability that uses drone data to monitor progress against plans, monitor the use of materials on site, and ensure adherence to project governance and safety controls.

"Capabilities include a 3D model. We will be making it official policy where everybody that works with DID, our professionals, they will have to join us in leveraging smart technologies. The 3D technologies embedded in the drone give us the opportunity to check and verify site activity.

"Once we bring in transparency, openness into construction sites, we are able to see what exactly is going on," he concluded.

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