Gauteng launches its first drone programme: here’s what they’re being used for

 ·21 May 2018

Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) MEC Jacob Mamabolo on Monday launched the province’s first drone programme. The department said it aims to use technology to become an efficient provider of services.

“The drone project adds a new dimension to the monitoring capability of the department,” it said. The drone, which is the first to be used to monitor infrastructure projects in tandem with the business intelligence house in DID’s nerve centre, Lutsinga Infrastructure House.

This new intervention essentially combines human intelligence, business intelligence and now artificial intelligence to ensure that the entire value chain of project deliver is efficient and that projects are delivered in time, within cost and at the right quality.

“It is possible for the public sector to be efficient and to be productive in what we do and that is exactly what we are demonstrating today,” said Mamabolo during the launch.

Through the drone project, the department ensures that construction work is done in line with work schedules. The drone also helps in the monitoring of safety compliance on construction sites to meet health standards.

The programme allows DID to identify blockages in the delivery of construction projects to visit sites, troubleshoot and intervene to improve our project management performance and productivity.

“One of the things that we have looked at is that globally infrastructure performance is lagging behind other industries. Therefore over the past two years we’ve been working hard to introduce efficiencies across the value chain of development,” Mamabolo said.

The department has been piloting drones since early January this year and the official launch today marks the success of the project, it said.

Project pipeline

Over the next three years, DID has committed to delivering 340 projects – valued at about R4.5 billion – on time, within cost and at the right quality.

The department has, for the first time, publicly unveiled a three-year portfolio of all its community infrastructure projects including new schools, libraries, clinics, licensing centres and community centres, following two years of behind the scene planning to manage its vast and complex projects.

The project pipeline will be used to prioritize projects which are ready for implementation for tracking and monitoring to improve project management processes as well as to speed up delivery to Gauteng communities.

All the pipeline projects were subjected to the Project Readiness Matrix (PRM), an innovative tool designed by the department, to assist in the assessment of all the critical and stage specific Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS) requirements, before projects are considered for inclusion in the pipeline.

The department said it will also be able to improve its reporting by ensuring that all information is gathered from one source. “Most importantly, the monitoring of project performance will further enable the department to proactively manage compliance issues largely residing in other spheres of government, such as local municipalities.”

“Annually we spend almost a trillion rands in infrastructure as government, which is a lot of money. Whilst we are spending this money, the built and construction continues to be depressed,” said Mamabolo.

He said that the project pipeline classifies projects in three categories: platinum for projects to be implemented in the 2018/19 financial year, Silver for 2019/20 and Coal for project that will be completed in the 2020/21. He said this allows DID to manage these projects more efficiently as these are now more transparent.

These projects are tested through the Project Readiness Matrix to ensure that there are no glitches that see projects experiencing endless delays.

“The project pipeline forms part of a major turnaround initiative by DID to standardise its project management approach through the use smart technologies to manage data from one source through the establishment of the Lutsinga nerve centre,” it said.

Read: Gauteng to launch its first drone programme

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