Absa recently rebranded when Barclays Africa Group Limited was renamed Absa Group Limited. This name change and rebrand marked the beginning of a new era for Absa as a standalone, uniquely African group.
To celebrate this rebrand, Absa partnered with tech company Intel to put on a drone light show or a “drone firework” show over the city of Johannesburg, the first of its kind on the continent. In a statement, Absa Goup said it partnered with Intel to host the live drone show as a way to showcase Absa’s new purpose of “bringing your possibility to life”.
The show consisted of 300 odd individual drones taking to the sky to greet onlookers with a “Hello Africa”, before taking the shape of the African continent and ending off with Absa’s new logo doing a 360° rotation to be seen from all angles.
Absa said that all care was taken to ensure the safety and security of the public and observers during the show.
“Intel and its partners have obtained the necessary South African Civil Aviation Authority and Department of Transport approvals to execute this once-off event.”
Despite this, many South African drone operators were skeptical, because getting permission to fly drones in South Africa is a notoriously difficult and tedious process.
Companies who operate drones are required to have an air-service license issued by the Air Service License Council (which resides at the Department of Transport) as well as a remote operator’s certificate (ROC) from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), responsible for regulating the civil aviation industry.
Speculation over the legitimacy of Absa and Intel’s permission to conduct this show even garnered the attention of Michael Mabasa, chairman of the council responsible for granting drone flying licenses.
#AbsaDroneShow. I don’t remember seeing your application nor a recommendation from the SACAA at the Air Services Licensing Council [ASLC] authorizing this event. From the Chairman: ASLC
— Michael M. MABASA (@Michael_MABASA) July 10, 2018
In response to this, Absa’s head of communications, Songezo Zibi, told Business Insider that written confirmation from the relevant authorities was, in fact, obtained. Absa had no influence over this process and any questions relating to the due diligence process that the authorities applied or the quality thereof can best be answered by them.
Watch IT News Africa’s exclusive footage of the show below:
By Daniëlle Kruger
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