The first NO-DIG SOUTH AFRICA Conference and Exhibition was held Aug. 23-24 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.

Organized by the Southern Africa 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 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 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 ISTT past chairman, Dr. Dec Downey.

Cllr Ramokgopa then toured the exhibition. As an engineer, he displayed a keen interest in the exhibits and after two hours at the event, it was clear that his aides were anxious he was running late for his next appointment.

The two-day conference program featured the International Society for Trenchless Technology’s (ISTT) Masterclass program, providing in depth overview presentations on condition assessment, HDD, rehabilitation techniques and pipe bursting. The ISTT speakers were ISTT chairman Dr. Sam Ariaratnam and Dr. Dec Downey. Each of the Masterclass sessions were supported by additional case study presentations illustrating the challenges and solutions experienced 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 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 Trenchelss 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, which was 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, SASTT president Andries Lotz 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 its expertise in delivering trenchless technology events in the United Kingdom, Middle East and Far East. Event Director Caroline Prescot said, “It has been a pleasure to organize this inaugural event in South Africa and we are looking forward to building on the success to deliver an even bigger event in 2013.”

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