by Jun 20, 2023Energy, News

Load shedding in South Africa is not the same as electricity rationing in many other African countries – with electricity rationing, businesses can often plan better, and more efficiently manage the potential impacts on the business. Under structured electricity rationing, businesses that drive the economy and contribute to growth, are often acknowledged and given the opportunity to continue operating because they contribute to the overall benefit of the economy by sustaining jobs and contributing to taxes.

All publicly available data suggests that the South African economy may be in for an even rougher ride this winter, despite the current reprieves at level 3, with potentially even higher load shedding stages. This is not about a view on the South African economy. It is about identifying possible scenarios, assessing these scenarios properly, and implementing business emergency,  recovery and  continuity plans (BCPs), that can make a difference between success and failure. It is essentially an acknowledgment that the focus must be on comprehensivley identifying the risk landscape. In order to do so, companies will need to allocate extensive resources (human resources and capital) so that the risk assessment team is properly constituted, with multi-disciplinary members that can add value through different perspectives. By adding multiple perspectives, this increases the the number of problem – solving opportunities. Logically, unless the assessment team is multi-disciplinary, certain risks and scenarios may not be identified, which could result  in a fatal flaw in the  BCPs. Simply put, small assumptions that are wrong, can lead to big mistakes. Similarly, if a substantial assumption is wrong, fatal flaws will find their way into all of the subsequent BCPs and processes.      

The foundation of a good BCP is a realistic approach to the identification of the risks and scenarios, applying as much objectivity as possible and avoiding complacency, compartmentalised decision-making, and disregarding of key stakeholders such as  employees, their representatives, supervisors, management team members and broader communities.

It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel – South Arica’s Health and Safety Laws (the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Mine Health and Safety Act) provide an extremely useful framework for risk assessment which can lead to the implementation of robust BCPs which could potentially save a business.

As we have been working with several  clients over the last few months on BCPs, one thing has become clear – old BCPs cannot simply be “dusted off”, and with the extreme changes that we have all experienced in recent  years, it is necessary to start the process from the beginning to make sure that the BCPs are realistic, factor in all relevant scenarios and can be implemented with full buy – in from all key stakeholders.