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Zanele Makhubu: Director Enterprise Risk Management, Gauteng Provincial Government

Zanele Makhubu

Director Enterprise Risk Management

Gauteng Provincial Government, Republic of South Africa


How did you get your job?

I work as an external Auditor for the Office of Auditor General four years completing my articles from 2000 to 2004, I was then employed as an Internal Auditor for the Department of Housing until 2007. In 2007 I applied for the Director’s post in Enterprise Risk Management for the same Department and here I am now.

That was at the time Risk Management in Government was introduced a mandatory, it was an exciting period and the challenge of implementing and embedding risk management culture for the first time made me excited to be switching my career to into this field. 

What’s a typical day like as an Director Enterprise Risk Management?

The typical day starts by educating the organisation about risk management in the form of one-on-one consultations with various business unit managers, conducting risk workshops and awareness campaigns, reviewing the risk reports compiled by the enterprise risk management team and advising management on strategic and operational risks across the organisation and well as writing reports to the audit committee,  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The joy of seeing the change in the mindsets across the organisation in terms of embracing risk management culture. As an implementer you feel humble when employees including the cleaner talk about risk matters in the corridors and lifts of the organisation and then in board room meetings where risk management form part of the essential agenda items and operating of the business.

What are the challenges?

The challenge is to keep the momentum up, especially in the risk management culture when there is change in leadership. You worry about continuity and buy–in from new leadership. You worry about effective risk management structures that you have created and whether they will continue to be functional. 

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

I was so excited to hear about the IRM qualifications, which focus on implementing risk management across the enterprise. I searched across Africa to no avail. Then I came across the IRM in 2009 offering a Diploma in International Risk Management – what attracted me most was the module on risk and organisation.

I registered for the Diploma and the risk and organisation module provided me with the practical tools to implement and embed the risk management culture in my organisation. I got to understand how management work and how to get their support.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

My advice would be for others to join the IRM whether at a membership level or as a student. The qualifications offered by IRM are more advanced than others and you can earn Continuous Professional Development.

The advantage is that IRM sets you apart from your colleagues in terms of knowledge and new changes in the field of risk management. It keeps you up-to-date with new developments in field as well as thought leadership developments.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

As the Enterprise Risk Manager, I have participated as a presenter, speaker and panel member in Risk Management forums and conference speaking about embedding Successful Risk Management across the organisation and how to win management support since 2009 to date – across Africa.

I participated in giving inputs on the Risk Management Framework and Combined Assurance Framework because as the implementer you understand the environment that you are engage in at an operational level and strategy level. This assisted the Province to come about with specific frameworks for public enterprise.

Because of the above participation you get to be sought after for advice by your peers and organisation across the field and your inputs are valued.

My ambition now is focus on being fully equipped in Risk Management linking it to Business Continuity Management and Disaster Risk Recovery Management and to be able to advise on these three areas

Top tips:

Stay informed and equip yourself continuously on new developments in risk management and educate yourself where you can. Although it’s not easy to study while having a full time job – perseverance is key – I am still completing my Diploma whilst doing a full time job.

Get involved, attend Regional Group Events, Risk Management Forums and Conferences, this will motivate you to hear other people’ s journeys and how they made it and you can also identify with their experiences – this encourages you to soldier on.

IRM qualifications and membership are the way to go. 

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