The rationale for this decision was that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic had made it impossible for the hosting of an event that draws several hundreds of people, and at a time when it was projected that the impact of the virus in South Africa would be at its peak. As we head towards the end of August, it turns out that the models were regrettably accurate.
Shaun Madho, SASTA’s new President, laments the Congress cancellation especially after SASTA patrons have enjoyed an innings of 92 successive annual Congresses before this year’s cancellation. The first Congress was held in 1927 and was hosted in the SASA Boardroom - Nicol’s Court, Durban. The run of 92 even endured a World War before succumbing to an invisible foe. Despite the widespread disappointment, the SASTA Council is confident that the cancellation and non-postponement of the Congress was indeed the correct decision to have been made, with the well-being of SASTA members as the primary priority.
Determined to keep to its mandate of promoting the exchange of scientific knowledge related to sugarcane agriculture and the processing of sugarcane products, SASTA is looking to go virtual this year and host a series of webinars for its members. The intention is to host agricultural and milling reviews, seminars on industry topics of interest, and selected scientific presentations. The virtual platform was also explored for the hosting of a full Congress but was found to be economically infeasible for the non-profit association. SASTA hopes that its members will support and benefit greatly from the webinar series, expected to be launched in August 2020.
For suggestions on the webinar series, write to:
– SASTA President