With the 18th WCNDT (World Conference on Non Destructive Testing) held in Durban behind us and all the vibe that went with it, SAINT (South African Institute for Non Destructive Testing) had to reassess its role with regards to the members and NDT in general for the South African industry. The SAINT Council did not want to lose the momentum generated during the hype that was created during the World Conference. The council also realised that a change of focus was needed, as there was little chance of survival with the status quo. Soon, the idea of an NDT Indaba, an isiZulu word for an important gathering, was conceived. The Indaba was held last year on the 15th February 2013 at the Willow Park Conference Centre in Kempton Park, South Africa.

Opportunities were given to over 100 attendees, who traveled from as far as Cape Town, to air their wishes as to what they expected from SAINT. Representation was made by NDT students, Level 1, 2 and 3 personnel, NDT service providers, equipment manufacturers and end users. All of the statements and suggestions were recorded, transcribed and evaluated by SAINT council. The one single important issue that emerged was to address the professional status of NDT technicians in the South African industry. On the 11th April 2013, SAINT council unanimously decided to pursue a process through the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) to register a Professional Body for NDT.

Ms Felicity Kent, a specialist in the field of Professional Body establishment and registration, having assisted with the establishment of The Institute for Working at Heights (Professional Body) was appointed as the proposed Professional Body Manager. During August 2013, a Steering Committee was established by SAINT council, in support of Ms Kent, to lay the groundwork for establishing and registering a Professional Body for NDT. The steering committee currently comprises of:

Harold Jansen Chairman
Felicity Kent Professional Body Manager
Robin Marshall Secretary
Simon Wilding Member
Keith Cain Member
Ben Buys Regional Rep – Cape Town
Rajendra Kistiah Regional Rep – Durban
Marius Purcell Regional Rep – Mpumalanga

As part of the SAQA registration process, the Professional Body embarked on a Road Show during the last week of January 2014. The objectives of the road show was to inform industry of the developments related to NDT personnel gaining professional designations within the South African Qualification framework as well as broad based acceptance across the South Africa industry. For this reason the road show was staged in the four major industrial hubs, namely: Johannesburg (Gauteng), Middleburg (Mpumalanga), Durban (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Cape Town (Western Cape). The combined attendance of the four venues surpassed that of the Indaba

Each venue was provided with an introductory speech, a presentation detailing the workings of the proposed professional body, a question and answer session, a lucky draw with the formalities ending with refreshments that were supplied by the hosts. Thereafter, the visitors took part in various discussions relating to the information that had been given to them.

The presentation outlined the process required and the proposed plan of action, as well as the registration of professional bodies in South Africa. Additionally, the presentation explained that the latest version of the Draft Policy on Recognition of Professional Bodies was issued in April 2012, and that there are currently approximately 60 Professional Bodies recognised by the Board of SAQA.

What is the definition of a registered professional body? This is a body that has been constituted to represent and/or regulate a recognised community of expert practitioners. A recognised professional body must register its professional designations with SAQA. As SAQA will not allow designations to be called a “level”, as universally used in NDT, the steering committee created the following designations that were subsequently proposed:

NDT Operator (NDT Level 1)
NDT Technician (NDT Level 2)
NDT Technologist (NDT Level 3)

(Alternative designations may be added, at a later stage, to include academic training provided by Vaal University of Technology – VUT)

The proposed designations are based on the highest NDT level of certification with a specialisation included for the method and level stipulated separately. For example, a PT2, MT1 candidate would possess a:

Professional Designation : NDT Technician, with the:
Specialisation, being : Magnetic Testing Level 1
Penetrant Testing Level 2

The designations are to be awarded when the specific criteria have been met. Such criteria will meet the South African Unit Standards, based on ISO 9712, but also include the requirements of company based certification, based on the SNT-TC-1A document.

These are exciting developments for NDT RSA and SAINT. This could be a model for international consideration as it attempts to bridge the gap between certification systems and gives recognition to the individual as a professional.

Author

SAINT Professional Body for NDT – Steering Committee

PBNDT Steering Commitee