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.

As you may be aware, the current Exco had an extended, 3 year term, as decided by you at our last AGM.  Your Exco for the last 3 years:

  • 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


Everyone in this team has done more than their share to keep your Society moving forward!


Academic meetings

It is an honour to welcome all of our friends from  the European Society of Coloproctology and to host the ESCP Global Outreach meeting as part of this congress.  All of our international guests again volunteered to cover their own travelling costs and their contribution to this quality meeting is greatly appreciated.

We had a very successful combined meeting in the Drakensberg in August 2022.  The meeting was very well attended, and delegates enjoyed the opportunity to see old friend and colleagues in the picturesque setting of the Drakensberg. It proved to be a profitable meeting for the Societies.

In 2024 we will once again join our sister Societies for a combined meeting.  This meeting will coincide with the 2024 IHPBA meeting to be held from 15 to 18 May 2024, at the ICC in Cape Town.  We expect a fantastic academic meeting filled with international HPB heavyweights, but will also include a full, non-HPB programme dedicated to SASES members and general surgeons.

Marcus Medical Eponymous Lecture

Prof Martin Brand is this year’s Marcus Medical Eponymous lecturer.  Martin is an academic HPB surgeon from the University of the Pretoria and has become an icon in South African surgery.  A previous member of the Exco and Past President of FoSAS, Martin continues to work towards the advancement of minimally invasive surgery in South Africa.  We thank Marcus Medical for their continued support of this prestigious lecture.

Traveling fellowships

We congratulate the winners of the 2023 SASES Travelling Fellowships.  George Chang will be travelling to the beautiful Bavaria for the SASES/Stortz fellowship, whereas Neil Roux is the worthy recipient of the SASES/J&J fellowship to Leuven.  Peter Taylor will join the astute group of South African fellows that travelled to Amsterdam for the SASES/Medtronic fellowship. Stefan Visagie is the winner of the HIG fellowship.

Matthias Scriba, was awarded an ad hoc travelling fellowship and visit the Oesophagogastric Surgical Unit in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2022. He will report back on this experience during the AGM.   Ad hoc travelling grants are available for application at any time by any member of the Society, and we encourage our members to apply for an ad hoc grant, should training opportunities arise.

Training Centre

The Red Cross Training Centre’s SASES affiliated courses were fully subscribed. The Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, Appendicectomy and Suture course remains the most popular and is a prerequisite for entry into the FCS final examination.


The Hernia Interest Group remains an important part of our Society and is thriving.  The HIG President, Dr Heather Bougard will give a separate President’s report for HIG. Your SASES membership gives you automatic membership to HIG, and we encourage all members to contribute the SA Hernia Registry.

Metabolic Surgery

Arguably the biggest achievement of the Society in recent years, was to establish the South African Metabolic Surgery Accreditation.  Under the portfolio spearheaded by Jeanne Lubbe, the team of experts worked tirelessly and tackled the mammoth task of creating an accreditation platform for metabolic surgery within the academic centres of South Africa.  The South African Metabolic Medicine and Surgery Society was started as sub-committee of SASES.  They have created a website (https://samms.org) and members can find all the relevant information on how to apply for training and accreditation.  We must congratulate Jeanne and the team on this excellent achievement!!

Website and Communication

As a Society we aim to keep communication relevant.  Important information is shared on the website that is regularly updated.  Very important information is shared via email and sms, and we encourage members to pay attention to important communication from the Society.

The future:

With a 30-year rich history of achieving our primary goal as stated in the constitution:  “To promote high standard of endoscopic surgery in South Africa through training and education” it is with a proud heart that I can step down as the President of this beloved Society and hand the reigns over to my successor, whom I am convinced, will lead the Society to achieve greater heights than what we’ve achieved over the last 30 years.  It’s been an honor to serve with such a humble team of individuals, who give so much of their private/family time to the works of the society.  Work that is unremunerated and often under recognized.

My goal for the next 2 years as immediate Past President is to explore avenues to revisit our outdated Constitution that warrants refurbishment.

I wish you a fruitful and stimulating congress and a pleasant time with friends and colleagues from around South Africa and the world.


Yours in Surgery

Emile Coetzee

President of SASES