Risk and Opportunity

Editor: Jan Hofmeyr
ISBN: 978-1-920299-10-1



On the eve of its fourth general elections, South Africa finds itself in the midst of a profound rearrangement of its political landscape after a decade and a half of governance by a unified African National Congress. This political realignment is occurring at the same time as economic gloom spreads around the globe in the wake of the American sub-prime crisis. South Africa's response to this confluence of circumstances may very well become a test of its resilience, as two relatively constant variables in recent years, political and economic stability, come under pressure.

Against this background, Risk and Opportunity has been chosen as the prism through which the 2008 Transformation Audit will review matters of socio-economic transformation over the past year. Times of uncertainty and volatility pose significant risks, which need to be understood; at the same time, they should not blind us to the opportunities for innovation when tested policy and strategy fail to measure up to the challenges of the day. This is the perspective that the 2008 Transformation Audit wishes to employ in its four traditional focal areas - the economy, the labour market, skills and education, and poverty and inequality. Each is highly vulnerable to the risks posed by the times that we find ourselves in, yet they also stand to benefit immensely from new ground-breaking perspectives that have been forced upon us by these circumstances.

By reviewing this global and domestic context and its implications for key policy spheres, Risk and Opportunity should be seen as an important contribution to the search for innovative and relevant responses to an environment that is decidedly different from the one that has been covered by the four previous editions of the Transformation Audit.

"The audit is a revolutionary idea, because it is an audit of national performance, not a performance audit of government, or of one or other organisation; but rather it questions how we, the South African society, are doing." - Mamphela Ramphele