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South Africa: Drones Prevent Corruption on Construction Sites

A drone monitors a construction site

Construction & Mining

South Africa: Drones Prevent Corruption on Construction Sites

A drone monitors a construction site

South Africa: Drones Prevent Corruption on Construction Sites


In South Africa, corruption on construction sites is a phenomenon that is no longer hidden.

In a bid to put an end to this problem, the government is now using drones on construction sites, especially in Johannesburg.

The initiative is part of the Gauteng Province’s Infrastructure Development Department’s mission to ensure infrastructure construction projects are finished in a timely and costly manner.

The government’s infrastructure costs are sky high, and by using the drones they hope to improve not only the work schedules but also the occupational health and safety standards of sites.

“Annually we spend almost a trillion Rands in infrastructure as government, which is a lot of money. Whilst we are spending this money, the building and construction continues to be depressed,” said MEC Jacob Mamabolo at a demonstration of the project last month.

“It is possible for the public sector to be efficient and to be productive,” he continued.

The department has been trialling the use of drones onsite since January, where they have been used to identify bottlenecks in the delivery of various construction projects, improving project management performance.

340 projects have been committed for completion over the next three years throughout the provincial government, including schools, libraries, medical clinics and community centres,at a cost of around $US360 million.

Planning for these projects has already taken two years and the department wants to make sure their planning will be followed through.

“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 added.

An example of one of the biggest corruption scandals in South Africa involved the construction of the 2010 World Cup sites.

With this in mind, the drones are expected to deter contractors who may consider exaggerating supplies or flouting safety regulations, in the knowledge that they are being monitored from the sky.


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Cite this article as: Sarah Whittaker, "South Africa: Drones Prevent Corruption on Construction Sites," in, June 22, 2018,

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