SAINT President's Speech at the Yearbook Launch

Good day honoured guests,

After watching that short video, it is hoped that Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) was not responsible for the explosion and ensuing fire.

Welcome to the first ever and definitely not the last, formal launch of the bi-annual SAINT Yearbook.

For those who do not know, SAINT is the South African Institute for Non-Destructive Testing and also the National NDT Society registered with the International Committee for NDT also referred to as the ICNDT. SAINT was established on 24 September 1968 as the SA Society of Non-Destructive Testing which, was later renamed to Institute.

Our vision is to be the Cornerstone of South African NDT which is also the title of the 2016 / 2017 yearbook.

At such an auspicious occasion with prominent guests in attendance it is easy to follow the usual tendency by referring to the historical highs and lows, the important figures and the importance of SAINT in industry and what it can do for you.

Since this has all been included in our yearbook, I no longer feel obliged to follow the normal trend and would rather be inspired by the here and the now. Our venue being here at the Knowledge Commons - in the Newtonian meeting room and the fact that NDT is an applied science, creates a well-defined structure within which my message can be conveyed.

Newton's First Law of Motion states that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. SAINT’s objectives were clear since its inception in 1968, to become the go-to entity of NDT in South Africa, the back bone to industry, the cornerstone of Non-destructive testing. A forward motion was thus initiated which carried on for 4 decades, ebbing between successes and disappointments. Inherent to the Newton’s first law is the concept of inertia, i.e. a moving object shall remain on its path of motion unless an external force was introduced. SAINT realised that the path chosen would not be sustainable and the concept of inertia would ultimately result in an inert entity.

It was not until the 18th World Conference in NDT held in Durban that a significant force could be introduced to change the path and needless to say, the velocity of the motion. SAINT held one of the most successful world conferences of all time, maybe even the most successful event ever thanks to dedicated, non-tiring, hard work from the local organising committee. Please read the extracts from the ICNDT Journal describing the success of this conference, also contained in this yearbook.

Newton's second law of motion states that the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables - the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object. The profit that was made during the world conference gave SAINT a massive boost and the acceleration for change was impressive. The mass of the object, due to years of inert motion, proved to be much greater than anticipated but through perseverance and hard work, the momentum resulting from the Durban conference has helped to improve our NDT industry as a whole.

You might ask yourself, What has SAINT achieved since the world conference of 2012?

Formally stated, Newton's third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the force on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.

The perceived negative implication of this third law lies in the definition of the two objects interacting. After extensive social media interaction, regional roadshows, positive and more often, negative remarks, an individual can easily misinterpret the objects as being SAINT vs. the NDT industry. Based on the initial inert path undertaken for almost 4 decades, one cannot blame outsiders to make this assumption.

However, the two objects that are in fact interacting are SAINT and complacency. Change is difficult to accept, due to the ‘inertia’ mind-set that the first law of motion has so eloquently introduced and cemented for more than 40 decades.

We are operating in an ever changing environment with various external forces emanating from the international harmonisation of NDT under the ISO 9712 system, national legislation relating to qualification frameworks, the national development plan, localisation of scarce skills, the national skills development plan and numerous other as yet unknown challenges awaiting us on our path. We either adapt, or we die, hence SAINT’s pro-active approach of leading industry from the front and guiding it’s future development, regardless how hard it might seem and what obstacles lay in our path.

A final law……

Newton's law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies in the universe will attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Within NDT, this means that SAINT wants to be instrumental in producing quality NDT personnel for both the national as well as the global market. We also want for all future NDT men and woman that originate from the South African designation system to become known as the preferred suppliers of NDT services worldwide.

It might be perceived as an ambitious goal, but then again every journey starts with the first step and every building’s foundation starts off with a cornerstone.

With SAINT being – the Cornerstone of South African NDT! Thank you.

Keith Cain