Decoding Risk Management Practices in the South African Public Service: A Focus on National Government Departments

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Government provides essential services to the population and therefore, uncertainties that could hinder government’s objectives should be identified, mitigated/controlled and monitored. Using the content analysis for data extraction in the annual reports of national government departments (NGDs) and the SPSS software for data analysis, this paper explored risk management practices in South Africa’s public service, with national government departments as a case in point. The findings are that in general, there are poor risk management practices in the NGDs as the majority of the observed category es were not disclosed in the NGDs annual reports. Since risk deals with the uncertainties on the objectives, it is concerning that NGDs have poor risk management practices, particularly because they are enablers (implementers) of government overarching strategy. As enablers of government strategy, it is recommended that NGDs view risk management as a process that enables them to identify threats that could hinder the attainment of their objectives whilst also leveraging opportunities that may arise. It is further recommended that the processes is viewed as an scenario or option analysis exercise that allows NGDs to properly plan, understand the intended outcomes and prepare responses to deal with any uncertainties. A summarised and harmonized risk governance requirement used for the purpose of exploring risk management disclosures could be used as a reference point of risk disclosure improvement by NGDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-43
Number of pages27
JournalAfrican Journal of Business and Economic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Annual Reports
  • National Government Departments
  • Risk Disclosures
  • Risk Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics


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