First No-Dig South Africa Conference Held

The first No-Dig South Africa conference and exhibition was held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria,  Aug. 23-24.

Organized by the Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology (SASTT) 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 utilized in trenchless technology.

The conference was officially opened by the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Cllr KD 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 utilized in the massive infrastructure program being rolled out in the country. After his speech, he joined delegates to listen to an introductory overview of trenchless technology presented by the past chairman of the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT), Dr Dec Downey.

Cllr Ramokgopa took time to tour the exhibition. With his engineering background, he displayed a keen interest in the exhibits, asking many questions on the technical capabilities of the equipment on display.
The two day conference program featured the ISTT’s master-class program, providing in-depth overview presentations on condition assessment, horizontal directional drilling, rehabilitation techniques and pipe bursting. The ISTT speakers were Dr Sam Ariaratnam, chairman of the ISTT and Dr. Dec Downey.
Each of the master-class sessions were supported by additional case-study presentations illustrating the challenges and solutions experienced when utilizing each of the trenchless methods.

Conference delegates and visitors were treated to an excellent display of equipment and services exhibited by more than 30 organizations. Joining the southern African-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 as 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 provided the venue for the first day’s buffet lunch. An informal cocktail reception was held among the exhibits to close the first day’s proceedings. Special networkers at the conference were the president and the secretary of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa, Jannie Pietersen and Debbie Anderson, who attended the conference as the special guests of SASTT.

At the close of the event, SASTT president 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 organized on behalf of SASTT by U.K.-based Westrade Group Ltd, which is internationally known for their expertise in delivering trenchless-technology events in the United Kingdom, Middle East and Far East.

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