Mar 2024 1st edition

Safeguarding property using drones

Written by Gabisile Ngcobo

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought economies to a halt, Mawanda Faniso, who ran tutoring services and doubled up as a real estate agent was left with no job. 

However, Faniso was given a new lease of life when he received a call from the Youth Employment Service (YES) that offered him an opportunity to enrol for a Drone Academy programme at the Genesis Hub in Saldanha in the Western Cape in 2021. 

He saw this as a great opportunity, considering that he had dropped-out of the University of Stellenbosch in 2013 because he could no longer afford to pay his chemical engineering degree fees.   

“It caught my interest and that’s how I joined. I had a vision to do something worthwhile and learn a skill that is future-proof because basically, the drones weren’t as popular then,” he told Vuk’uzenzele. 

Faniso now has a remote pilot’s license which allows him to fly drones, as well as a repair and maintenance technician license so that he can fix and work on drones.

Today, he works full-time for a security operations company, providing an eye-in-the-sky service for clients. He works as a commercial drone operator for a company that specialises in integrated drone solutions for aerial security surveillance, industrial inspections, and aerial surveying and mapping. 

The commercial drone operator said the YES programme opened his eyes to some of the security challenges facing state-owned organisations. 

His license has offered him some opportunities to be the eye in the sky and use effective drone surveillance to monitor activity on SOE properties and provide advanced warning of any trespassers. 

Faniso has since crisscrossed the country to help safeguard Eskom power stations, and mines and protect critical rail infrastructure at Transnet where he is currently stationed. 

 “This experience allows you to understand why certain things happen and how we can contribute to creating a better living not only for yourself but your fellow men.” 

The sky is the limit for this youngster who has found a new passion for the security industry and is also in the process of building a leading internet service provider business in the Eastern Cape and the small towns along the Western Cape. 

“With the drone stuff, we'd also like to create our own company. I'm still learning the ropes on how to accomplish that. 

“There's a lot of red tape within the industry but with the practical experience as to how to operate the drone I'm getting the business side under wraps so that I can open my firm one day,” said Faniso. 

For more Information about YES, visit: or call 087 330 0084 or email: 

Safety and Security
Share this page