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Johan Minnie

Johan Minnie, Aurecon

Johan Minnie leads Aurecon’s Risk and Resilience Management team in Cape Town, South Africa

Over the course of 23 years, he has built an extensive track record in risk and resilience management and consulting, with a wealth of experience in risk assessment, emergencies, crises and disasters, and the variables that contribute to their avoidance, reduction and the best response to them, in a wide range of physical, social and organisational settings. Johan’s current consulting role is underpinned by his experience in all-hazard risk reduction, emergency response, recovery and rehabilitation, as well as resilience building through strategic, tactical and operational planning and execution.

Johan has worked on a wide variety of projects for clients such as The City of Cape Town, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Moreton Bay Municipality in Australia, the South African National Disaster Management Centre, Vale Mozambique, United Nations Development Programme Rwanda, AUSAID/DFAT Pakistan, Nampower Namibia, Transnet and PetroSA.

Johan is currently the President of the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa, a non-profit professional body for Disaster Management practitioners.

What drives you?

Being able to contribute to exciting projects and leveraging positive change.

Proudest moment in your career?

A few moments come to mind:

  • Seeing children responding positively to fire and life safety education sessions within a public awareness and preparedness project in Cape Town.
  • Attending the release of hundreds of rehabilitated penguins from the MV Treasure oil spill that affected the endangered African Penguin population of South Africa in 2000.
  • Being part of the safety management efforts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
  • Helping to removing the barriers to allow the first long-distance bus to enter the new bus terminus at Cape Town Station, at the end of an emergency planning assignment for the station.

I feel a sense of achievement and gratitude every time I see a group of people working together effectively to manage a crisis or disaster. A well-prepared emergency response is very rewarding to witness, and when people start thinking ahead and acting on proactive risk reduction, it is a real thrill.

What is a good day for you?

A good day is a day on which I trigger a positive change, am part of a team achievement, learn something new and enjoy the people around me and especially my family. I value being able to take a step back and reflect about challenges and opportunities in the industry.

An essential key to innovative thinking? And why?

Taking the time to really listen to a client’s challenges, as well as questioning and challenging opinions and proposed solutions. This forces you to consider a challenge from a variety of perspectives,  gather and consider views different from your own, and have the courage to be positive and believe in success.

The most important lesson you learnt early in your career?

To learn from every experience and to act on that knowledge.

Where do you see risk and resilience management and consulting in the next five years?

While many disciplines and areas related to risk and resilience management are pursuing their own agendas, I think everything will start to take on a larger sustainability approach over the next five years. Resilience management will become ever more important as populations grow and people consume beyond the limits of sustainability and into the path of danger.

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