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The first NO-DIG SOUTH AFRICA Conference and Exhibition was held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria, 23-24 August. Organised by SASTT (Southern Africa Society for Trenchless Technology) the exhibition and conference provided an excellent networking and educational forum for engineers to gather information and knowledge on the latest developments, techniques and equipment utilised in trenchless technology.

The Conference was officially opened by the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Cllr K D Ramokgopa.  During his opening speech he said that trenchless technology was ‘a breath of fresh air’ and would doubtless benefit South African citizens as these technologies are utilised in the massive infrastructure programme being rolled out in the country.  After his speech, he joined delegates to listen to an introductory overview of trenchless technology presented by ISTT’s past chairman, Dr Dec Downey.

Cllr Ramokgopa took time to tour the exhibition and with an engineering background, displayed a keen interest in the exhibits, asking many questions on the technical capabilities of the equipment on display.

The two day Conference programme featured the International Society for Trenchless Technology’s (ISTT) Masterclass programme, providing in depth overview presentations on condition assessment, HDD, rehabilitation techniques and pipe bursting.  The ISTT speakers were Dr Sam Ariaratnam, Chairman of ISTT and Dr Dec Downey.  Each of the Masterclass sessions were supported by additional case study presentations illustrating the challenges and solutions experienced utilising each of the trenchless methods.

Conference delegates and visitors were treated to an excellent display of equipment and services exhibited by more than 30 organisations.  Joining the Southern Africa based companies were exhibitors from Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan.

Gold sponsors of the event, Vermeer Equipment Suppliers, mounted an impressive display of its ‘Navigator’ horizontal directional drilling (HDD) equipment, both on their indoor stand, as well outside.  

Bronze sponsors Insitu-Pipelines and Reef Trenchless Technology also supported their presence with outdoor displays of CCTV and HDD equipment respectively.

The networking opportunities were relaxed and convivial, providing delegates and exhibitors with plenty of opportunities to mingle and chat.  The outdoor deck, bathed in sunshine, provided the venue for the first day’s buffet lunch and an informal cocktail reception was held among the exhibits to close the first day’s proceedings.

At the close of the event, President of SASTT, Andries Lötz commented ‘SASTT is delighted that NO-DIG SOUTH AFRICA 2011 has achieved its aim to provide a specialist forum for the trenchless technology community in South Africa.  We have undoubtedly raised the profile and awareness for the industry through this event and we are looking forward to welcoming new members to the Society as a result of its success’.

NO-DIG SOUTH AFRICA 2011 was organised on behalf of SASTT by UK based Westrade Group Ltd who are internationally known for their expertise in delivering trenchless technology events in the UK, Middle East and Far East.  Event Director Caroline Prescot comments ‘It has been a pleasure to organise this inaugural event in South Africa and we are looking forward working with SASTT to build on its success to deliver an even bigger event in 2013’.

Further information on NO-DIG SOUTH AFRICA 2011 can be found at www.nodigsouthafrica.com and information on membership of SASTT at www.sastt.org.za