2023 President’s Report

On this the 30th year of the existence of our Society, it is an honour and pleasure to welcome our members to the first in-person Stand-Alone meeting since 2018!  The Vineyard Hotel has served the Society well as a congress venue, and we immediately booked it again after the 2018 meeting, for the congress that was supposed to take place in 2020.  We must thank the Vineyard for extending our deposit until now.

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SASES is proud to support and be affiliated with BARIAlink.

BARIAlink – created in 2016 by Dr. Bruno Dillemans – is a web-based knowledge base and participation network of bariatric and metabolic surgery specialists from all over the globe…

The primary aim of BARIAlink is to share and discuss at a highly professional level the challenges faced by surgeons in complex cases, innovative surgical procedures and new approaches to bariatric surgery, in order to raise the level of surgical excellence in this field.

Why BARIAlink?

Bariatric Surgery is a relatively new surgical subdiscipline, with scientific interest in the subject rapidly increasing, as well as the number of surgeries being performed worldwide.

An unfortunate side effect of this rapid evolution is the ever-changing nature of the discipline. Preferred bariatric procedures have quickly changed, and training has not always been carried out for long enough, or to a high enough standard for surgeons entering this appealing new domain.

As such, a broad spectrum of corrective-surgery including reversals, revisions and conversions has become necessary, but they are technically more challenging and are accompanied with a higher morbidity and mortality.

In order to improve the knowledge and skills to deal with these complex cases, BARIAlink was born and officially registered as a foundation in June 2017.

BARIAlink hosts regular academies and webinars in the field of bariatric surgery. Visit the upcoming events page for a schedule of future events


2021 SASES Presidents Report

Presidents Report 2021 - The South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons

As a Surgeon in a respiratory disease pandemic, our profession and, often our patients, had to take a back seat to the burden of respiratory disease that overwhelmed not only our healthcare system but also most others around the globe. Face-to-face meetings have become distant memory. It would be easy for surgical societies to lose momentum during these unprecedented times. We were forced to cancel traveling fellowships and face-to-face Exco meetings, but the cogs of the Society kept turning and I am pleased to report back on the hard work that has gone into the ongoing success of our beloved Society.

Your Exco

The new Exco was voted into office at a special virtual AGM held on 15 October 2020. We said farewell to our Past President, Dick Brombacher, treasurer, Dino Sofianos, and the Exco member in charge of Travelling Fellowships, Martin Brand. They all left big shoes to fill.

Your new Exco was elected and roles allocated:

  • President: Emile Coetzee
  • Past President: Eugenio Panieri
  • Vice President and ERAS: Ravi Oodit
  • Treasurer: Grahame Reimers
  • Secretary: Bernie Maree
  • Minimal Access Surgery: Zach Koto
  • Training Centre: Alp Numanoglu
  • Travelling Fellowships and HIG: Heather Bougard
  • Metabolic Surgery: Jean Lubbe
  • Website and communication: Jaco Botes

It’s been a tough task for the new members to get to know the inner workings of the Exco, as a lot is lost with the shorter, virtual meetings that we as Exco had to revert to. I am proud to say that the new Exco members have worked beyond their calling!

Travelling Fellowships

All the Travelling Fellowships had to be cancelled for 2 years in a row. Fortunately these will resume in 2022. Sponsorships have been confirmed and the supporting Units looking forward to receiving our fellows.

Training Centre

The Training Centre at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital has resumed with courses. Unfortunately regulations have forced the Training Centre to run at only approximately 50% of capacity. Since 2018, there has been no financial support from industry, but donations for sutures were received from BBRAUN and MEDTRONIC.

The Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, Appendicectomy and Suture course is most popular and is a prerequisite for entry into the FCS final examination. The Training Centre will host the last of these courses for 2021 on 28 and 29 October 2021.

Training and Webinars We must thank Eugenio Panieri for the tremendous effort that he put into the Virtual Meeting in September. The format was fantastic, and the online platform worked without glitches. We are all Zoomed Out and the Society made a conscious decision not to continue with our quarterly webinars that we had in the past. This will resume 2022.

Private Practice Matters

Your Society is doing its best to look after the advancement of endoscopic surgery for its members and the benefit of the patients of South Arica.

MEDSCHEME HMB programme: MEDSCHEME is in the process of introducing a Hospital Management Benefit Programme to streamline admissions and remove the need to obtain pre-authorization for certain procedures. SASES has been working tirelessly with MEDSCHEME to establish protocols for this project that will benefit our members and their patients.

New Reimbursement Model SURGICOM is embarking on a massive undertaking to update the Coding model with funders to be more in line with colleagues in other disciplines and representative of the work and hours that it takes to be a good, caring surgeon. SASES will be actively involved in the establishment and negotiation codes for laparoscopic procedures.


The Hernia Interest Group is an active part of our society and have accomplished so much over the last few years. Heather Bougard will update you with the workings of HIG in her Presidents report. We urge every member of SASES and HIG to continue to support the South African Hernia Registry. Please remember to log into www.higsa.co.za and enter your cases.

Metabolic Surgery

Jeanne Lubbe, with the support of Zach Koto and Jaco Botes, have taken on the mammoth task of making metabolic surgery available to more South Africans. Our country has a massive burden of metabolic disease due to obesity. You may be aware of the alternative training and accreditation pathway that was previously established through PROVENTI.

A subcommittee was created within SASES, namely The South African Metabolic Medicine Subcommittee/Society (SAMMS). This subcommittee/society has arisen from the need to create an academic home for obesity medicine and surgery in South Africa and is also affiliated to SEMDSA (Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa). The first SAMMS meeting was held on 19 May 2021. Seventy-two participants from SASES and SEMDSA attended. The working members are represented by both surgeons and endocrinologists from SASES and SEMDSA, and as first projects took on international affiliation with the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), as well as setting up a Global Fee structure for the most common metabolic procedures in South Africa. Ongoing work will be to establish a truly South African accreditation system, and a dedicated metabolic surgery session/day at the SEMDSA 2022 meeting in Lagoon Beach. The vision of SASES is for training and accreditation of Metabolic Surgery in South Africa to move to the academic institutions though a fellowship training program.


Our website had a significant upgrade. We aim to keep information on the website, as well as emails to the member as relevant as possible. Members are encouraged to visit our site at www.sases.org, create an account and enjoy the contents that is published.

We are excited to take these and other ventures of our Society forward to continue to improve access to laparoscopic surgery and the surgical outcomes of your patients.

Yours truly,

Emile Coetzee