Remarks by George Simataa the Secretary to Cabinet on a recent retreat of Permanent Secretaries at Gobabis

Remarks by George Simataa the Secretary to Cabinet on a recent retreat of Permanent Secretaries at Gobabis

Honorable Minister of Presidential Affairs, Cde Frans Kapofi, The Honorable Chairman of Omaheke Regional Council, Cde Kariseb and other Honorable Councilors; Your Worship the Deputy Mayor of Gobabis Town, Cde Tjizoo; The Special Advisor to the Governor, Cde Pio Nganate; Esteemed Permanent Secretaries, Members of the media , Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning

I welcome you all to this very important retreat of Permanent Secretaries. First, I would like to apologize for the change in the programme that saw us having the official opening shifted to this morning, instead of yesterday as was originally planned. The situation was occasioned by matters that were beyond our control.

I apologize most sincerely but I am hopeful that we will catch up with time. I would like to thank the Minister of Presidential Affairs for agreeing to come and grace this occasion with his presence. Comrade Minister you are most welcome.



When the idea of having this retreat was conceived in one of our meetings, I appointed a committee of Permanent Secretaries under the chairmanship of Comrade Ndishishi to facilitate and plan for this occasion. The committee worked hard and today we find ourselves here in Gobabis. I would like to thank them for the manner in which they have planned for the retreat.

I would also like to thank you all for coming to this important meeting. As you may recall, the decision to have this retreat was ours. Therefore this is our meeting and we must make a success out it.

When you look in the Old Testament of the Bible, you will find the Five Books of Moses. These books describe the creation and transformation, leave-taking and wandering, search and exploration, learning the law and finding the new land. In my view, this biblical story is devoted to leadership for change. This is the kind of journey that the public service of Namibia has embarked upon since 21 March 2015. Since 21 March 2015, the government has introduced initiatives that require change and transformation.
Transformation is about radical change, revolutionary change, holistic change and about the creation of wholly new forms.

Transformation is not strange, bizarre or unusual. Change, even transformational change, has a shape and pattern to it. Yes, chaos is a part of change, but all of transformational change is not chaotic. There is order even to chaos. Those individuals, those leaders, those organizations, those nations who are the first to see the “order in the chaos of change” will be the first to make the appropriate choices for the new order! The people of Namibia are demanding for new order now.

And the only people that can bring about the new order is our group: Permanent Secretaries.
But, the new order requires a paradigm shift in the way we think and do things as the most senior civil servants. A new paradigm shift from the old order to a new order. It this group’s responsibility to describe the shape and pattern of change and transformation needed to arrive at a new order without creating chaos. The difficult part of the paradigm shift is breaking away from the old paradigm (that does not work as well as it used to) and surviving in the “chaos of change.” The chaos of change is that transition space, that emptiness, that neutral zone, that black hole, between the old ways of seeing and responding to the world, the old paradigm and the creation of the new paradigm. Leading in the journey from the old to the new paradigm, building a bridge across the chaos of change, facilitating survival and thriving in this process is the role of the LEADER, in this case, us, the Permanent Secretaries.

The story of Moses in the bible gives us an idea on how we should lead in the journey from the old to the new paradigm. Moses was one of the greatest of leaders in his days, so says the Bible. He led his people “out of the land of bondage,” and through the “desert or wilderness,” Biblical words for “chaos,” into the “promised land- the land of milk and honey,” the new paradigm. Our political leaders have made promises to the people of Namibia that they will be taken to the promised land- the land of milk and honey. In my view, the safe arrival of the people of Namibia to the promised land- the land of milk and honey is in hands of Permanent Secretaries. Therefore, this meeting should be able discussing how we as Permanent Secretaries take the people of Namibia to the promised land- the land of milk and honey.

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