Averting a perpetual hangover in South Africa

Risk managers in South Africa are calling for a unified response to the country’s problems to cure what they call the perpetual hangover that has threatened the region.

In its report South Africa Risks 2020, the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) has said: “From our analysis, all the risks we face as a country will lead to the realisation of our worst-case scenario, perpetual hangover, if not dealt with decisively. There is significant work to do to manage our overall country risk profile to a more acceptable level and achieve ‘Spring of hope’.”

Possible outcomes

The report suggests three possible outcomes for the country:

Perpetual hangover: Current trends of short-termism and social bankruptcy grow, with increasing distance between different groupings in society. There is an inability to counter the elements of populism, racial polarisation, and short sighted economic policies originating from some sections of our society. These trends could lead to the “ultimate implosion of the state”.

Fake it until we make it, or not: The country accepts the perpetual hangover trends, but is neither prepared nor desperate enough to make the tough calls needed to turn the country around.

Spring of hope: People take individual and collective charge of their future and firmly work to eliminate any “noise” in the system that detracts from a common purpose. Although not all elements of society are in complete agreement, they work to build a consensus to drive a resilient society.

Longer-term view

“The report highlights possible scenarios, not to overwhelm us or create paralysis and a sense of doom, but to create possible futures that we can all work towards whilst acknowledging the consequences of past decisions or lack of decisions,” IRMSA president Berenice Francis said in the report. “The role of risk managers is to assist organisations in seeing a longer-term view, seeing possibilities, giving much needed time to proactively craft and implement solutions.”

As well as providing in-depth scenario analysis and proposed solutions, the 122-page report also examines the potential role of risk managers in each. Download for free here.

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