The University of Venda’s Risk Officer, Mr Tinyiko Sibiya organized a successful Risk Management for Risk Champions workshop. A two-day workshop was held at Kruger National Park Mopani Rest Camp from 19 – 20 March 2019. Facilitated by Mr Christopher Whittle who is the Managing member of Universum Risk Advisory, the workshop was an eye opener to most of the delegates. Participants were drawn from different schools, departments and directorates within the University.

When welcoming the delegates, the Director Communications and Marketing, Mr Takalani Dzaga reaffirmed the commitment of the Executive Management in risk management matters and to facilitate capacity-building and strengthening of the risk champions. This includes the importance of equipping employees with knowledge in terms of Risk Management. Mr Dzaga said the workshop has been organised to provide an opportunity for risk champions to enhance their understanding of Risk Management in the operations of the University. He encouraged delegates to see risk management from a new perspective, participate actively in the discussions, and learn from one another. And more importantly, to bring good lessons into practice and share them with fellow colleagues at work.

Delegates acquired knowledge of the practical and critical success areas in the implementation of the effective risk management. The workshop provided opportunities for practical exercises in risk management activities. Delegates also learned how to avoid pitfalls when implementing risk management including improving existing risk management practices at the University of Venda.

Mr Whittle, the facilitator, indicated that Risk can be defined as an “Effect of uncertainty on objectives”. In essence, risk management refers to the practice of identifying potential risks in advance, analyzing them and taking precautionary steps to reduce or curb the risk. The facilitator further stated that Risk management cannot be effective or implemented if the objectives are not clear. Therefore, the objectives need to be specific, clearly defined and measurable in order to be achievable. During the workshop, Risk was seen as a fact of life which is constantly changing. It was also mentioned that today’s economy requires institutions to identify and respond more quickly to changing risk profile.

Institutional culture was also found as crucial in risk management. The facilitator talked about the new technology which creates opportunities but on the other hand bring uncertainties that become risks to an institution.

It is vital for a university’s governance structure which is Council to have capacity and an ideal framework to support the implementation of risk activities. However, Council can delegate the responsibility and accountability to management and monitor the risks management plan. It was highlighted that everyone in an Institution has some responsibility and a role to play in risk management. Hence, the role of the risk champions is to make sure that people around them understand the risk management. The presentation was well received by the Univen risk champions.

The workshop was officially closed by the Director Communications and Marketing, Mr Takalani Dzaga who expressed his satisfaction about the fact that the training had achieved its intended objectives. In his closing remarks Mr Dzaga said “participation in this workshop would hopefully lead to the reduction of potential risks at Univen”. He encouraged the Risk Champions to go back and do things differently and to educate others in their respective departments and schools. He further said that respective schools and directorates would have a template on how to constantly report on their risks.

“It is my hope and belief that the outcome of this workshop will be an invaluable contribution to the ongoing efforts to establish sound programmes for the management of risks and business continuity. I also hope that this workshop will provide an opportunity for the risk champions to assess better and to evaluate better the University’s performance in the areas of business continuity and risk management going forward” concluded Dzaga.

It’s a deal L-R: Takalani Dzaga, Christopher Whittle and Tinyiko Sibiya

The winner, L-R: Tinyiko Sibiya handing over a bag as a prize to Khathu Magwede who was one of the Champions

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Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 31 March 2019

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