Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

05 July 2022

Gert Sibade District Municipality held a gala dinner on 15 June 2022 in celebration of the drone’s services.

The celebration was aimed at celebrating both the GSDM aerospace hub and the drone services as GSDM is the first municipality in South Africa to be legally licensed to operate its fleet of unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) to the improvement of municipal support services.

The municipality has bee issued the permit to operate drones.

Amongst other things the drone services will offer disaster service support, air quality services, Aerial photography, topographic services, infrastructure assessment and aerial asset infrastructure.

This is after the municipality has acquired a land where the Aerospace industrial hub will be developed.

The land was owned by Msukaligwa local municipality, both GSDM and MLM agreed to transfer the 304HA of land to GSDM and the title deed was handed over at the event.

According to Mr Mthandeni Mkhonza, the district municipality is embarking on a program to develop the facility which will consist of 12 twelve physical precincts on ground which includes a residential component, hotel, a shopping center, airport services, training and research component which he said their intended first partner of preference is the Gert Sibande TVET College, an aerospace institute focusing on engineering which he said will cover the skill that are not covered in south African universities, manufacturing, aerospace incubator and more.

“At this stage we cannot be able to tell how much the entire project of the airport is going to cost. 

The drone services is expected to generate employment and new opportunities for the youth in the district. 

Six 6 pilots have been trained by GSDM at this stage to operate the aerial vehicles (Drones) and according to Mkhonza more opportunities will open up for youth in the development of the hub.

“The municipality also intends on using the drone capability to improve service delivery in the district and beyond.

There are opportunities for commercial transaction which will assist the district with the much needed revenue, this revenue generated from the aerospace will be utilized to provide water, sanitation, reseal road in municipalities,” said Executive Mayor of GSDM, Cllr Walter Mngomezulu.

The event was graced by the presence of Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla and MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs Busi Shiba.