Two Local Risk Managers Humbled by Nominations at IRMSA Awards

By Phiwa Sikhondze

Two local Risk Managers have earned recognition from the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) through the nomination for the 2023 IRMSA awards.

Swaziland Building Society’s (SBS) Operational Risk Manager, Simiso Gwebu was nominated for the Up and Coming Risk Manager of the Year Award and the Africa Risk Management Award.

The awards ceremony took place last week and was preceded by IRMSA’s Annual Conference and masterclass that saw industry leaders from across Africa gather at the Gallagher Convention Centre.

Gwebu was a runner-up in the Up and Coming Risk Manager of the Year Award category and was only a finalist in the Africa Risk Management Award category.

Meanwhile, Eswatini Royal Insurance Corporation (ESRIC)’s Risk Manager, Portia Hlophe was nominated for the Africa Risk Management Award where she also came only as a finalist.

Despite not walking away with awards in their respective nominated categories, the Risk Management practitioners noted that they were extremely humbled by the nominations.

IRMSA is the professional body for Risk Management in South Africa as recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

IRMSA represents individuals and companies committed to the enhancement of the Risk Management discipline. IRMSA serves aspiring risk practitioners, risk professionals, and decision-makers in Southern Africa.

The IRMSA awards recognize and honour accomplishments made by individuals and organizations in the risk management industry.

The awards are held annually to acknowledge the achievements made by members who continue to make a difference in their risk management roles and within their dynamic teams.

The competition was clearly fierce as the FA News, a South African business news publication reported that SASOL’s Chief Risk Officer Alexandra Russell walked away with the prestigious “Risk Manager of the Year” award.

Reached for comments on the nomination, Gwebu expressed gratitude to his industry peers for their support and for putting his name up in the bigger bodies. He also expressed that this nomination means a lot for him and the entire profession.

“It’s not just for me but it’s for the entire country. For me individually, it signals that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to advance the profession and also as a collective, we need to put the profession up there so that it can be recognized,” he said.

ESRIC’s Risk Manager on the other hand expressed her excitement over the nomination and stated that this is a great advancement for her in the Risk Management profession, considering where she is coming from. “I am elated. Just to be nominated and make it to be one of the finalists means a lot to me. This nomination is very personal for me and makes me emotional as I reflect and take time to look back at my risk management career,” Hlophe noted with excitement.

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