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KZN Looks At Drone Technology To Fuel Economy And Employment Rate


The leader of government business in KwaZulu-Natal has said that drone technology could be used to stimulate the province’s economy.

The member of the executive council (MEC) for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, made the remarks on Tuesday in her keynote address at the DroneCon 2019 conference held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban.

The drone technology is anticipated to reduce business costs and drive economic growth

Dube-Ncube told attendants that KZN’s current priority was building modern infrastructure, particularly in transportation and logistics.

“We want these to reduce business costs, enhance competitiveness and to drive future growth of our economy. We believe that drones technology has the potential to stimulate our economy,” she said. The provincial government viewed the transport and aviation sectors in particular as critical in creating job opportunities for young people.

“We want to learn more about what this province could do to open up opportunities for young people. We want them to be trained in drone piloting and some of them to even be involved in drone manufacturing. Critically, we are interested in the use of drone technology in driving the maritime industry (given the province’s extensive coastline).”

MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Young people are set to be up-skilled and trained in drone technology and monitor coastline ports

“We have heard a lot about an experimental programme called LOCUST (Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology). This programme provides sailors and mariners with a decisive tactical advantage. In this regard, we are interested to know the possibility of using drone technology to address the concerns raised by our port users. They have continuously expressed frustrations over delays in our ports.

 MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube

They have also raised other issues about port governance, policies, as well as pricing, said Dube-Ncube, adding that premier Sihle Zikalala had discussed the issues with president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As we move forward, we are seriously looking at the possibilities of getting young stars to manage cargo drones. We are informed that in the future cargo drones will fly more cheaply, fast and will be very safe,” she said.

 MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube

KwaZulu-Natal has ambitions of being the first province with DronePorts to service local municipalities in rural areas

“In all your deliberations I wish you could discuss the possibility of ensuring that KZN becomes the first province to have DronePorts. A network of DronePorts could be located in eleven district municipalities to service local communities in remote areas where there is a lack of road infrastructure.”

 MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube

The MEC said she imagined a future where service delivery was enhanced by the use of drones, which could be used for delivery of medical supplies to rural clinics, hospitals and other community centres in KZN.

Other areas where drones could be utilised throughout the province included agriculture, for weeding fields, applying fertilisers, to patrol farms to reduce livestock theft and to strengthen anti-poaching efforts. DroneCon, one of the biggest on the African continent, will end on Wednesday.

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