Liz Sibindi has left town

By By Dorcas Mhungu
October 2011
On the Move
The former City of Windhoek spin-doctor has left town. Sibindi ended more than seven years of being the voice of the City of Windhoek this month to take up a top management position at Namport in Walvis Bay as Head of the Communications Department.

She describes her move as long overdue arguing, “HR ethics dictates that any person should, at the maximum, only serve 5 years in a portfolio.”

She says; “It is an achievement to be manager proper, not acting here and there. In this regard, I can already see that there is a vast scope for me to grow in management practice, approach and strategic focus.

“I also develop a liking for the marine environment as well so the sky is not the limit. I longed for a different challenge and Namport presented an excellent opportunity within a perfect environment and hygienic factors I could not resist.”

Sibindi prides in having contributed to the communications strategy, reviving the internal news letter under a new title, “City News”; introducing a combined year end function where all City of Windhoek staff and councilors mingled and the introduction of grown female council employees drum majorettes at the /Ae//gams Festival street procession, to name but a few.

But the achievement that she marvels at most was the introduction in 2009 of a Media Breakfast aimed at providing a platform for the media and city management to discuss proposed budget implications and subsequent objective reports from the media.

“The major challenge was to be at different places at the same time. There was only one Liz Sibindi and the City had grown both geographically and in operations, including the stakeholder expectations, internally and externally.

Resistance to change both internally and externally was one of the challenges. The diverse stakeholders of the City require different interventions to keep them engaged, informed and educated. It has been a challenge to achieve that at all times,” she says.

Inspired by Simon //Hoabed, the then spokesperson for City of Windhoek whom she used to see on an NBC television program regularly; the head girl of Ashipena Secondary School first worked as a typist with Namibia Police in the Public Relations Department, before joining TransNamib and later Standard Bank Namibia.

After graduating at the University of Namibia, thanks to her uncle, current Speaker of Parliament Theo Ben Gurirab, who signed as guarantor for s study loan, Sibindi secured a job with Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) as Head of Marketing in 2002, before moving to the City of Windhoek a year later.

“Being the PR of the City, I lived my dream. I served the City and her residents with passion and dedication, but as dreams have it, you always wake up. I’m glad I woke up to reality, to realise that there is more to me than being the PR of the City.”

But did she leave the City when she was needed most?
A prepaid electricity crisis left thousands of people without electricity when the authority decided to abruptly terminate prepaid electricity facilities, and the voice of the City was nowhere to be found. In fact, when she surfaced, it was to say, she is leaving town, not handling what was soon becoming a scandal.

“I submitted my resignation way before the electricity saga and was actually concluding my notice period when the pop hit the fan. If it was observed well, decisions and enquiries were taken and handled above my level that is why I almost didn’t even feature during the crisis but that I can only say was a real, crisis there is no better way of putting it. There are several learning outcomes the crisis presented which I believe was noted by the authorities.”

Acting against the current and the ability to see beyond the woods, she says the City of Windhoek always encourages sister towns and the business community to implement developmental projects that are appealing to locals and that make people abandon the idealistic notion that the capital cities have greener pastures.

“The Great Erongo Region is responding to that call in a larger magnitude than we can actually measure. I see room for the woman I am becoming in the great Erongo and can only appreciate my decision to relocate,” she notes.

Also on the Move this Month

Werner Ewald has been appointed Country Manager for Bannerman Mining Resources Namibia (PTY) LTD based in Swakopmund with effect from 4 August. Ewald joined Bannerman in July 2010 as the Etango Project Co-ordinator following 22 years with Rössing Uranium Limited, prior to which he worked at Namdeb. He will also be responsible for Bannerman’s community support programs which have to date focussed on education and tourism initiatives.

Robert Eiman has been appointed Head of SME at FNB Namibia.Eiman replaces Ali Ipinge, who has been seconded to FNB South Africa. Eiman has 11 years experience in the banking sector. He has worked as a Branch Manager for Ondangwa, Oshikango, Eenhana and Ohangwena until 2005 when he returned to Windhoek and was appointed at the Windhoek Corporate and Commercial Unit as Commercial Manager, a position he held until his recent appointment as a Head of the SME Business unit.

Mr Stephan Enslin was also appointed as the new Sales Manager at Chrysler/ Jeep/Dodge with effect from 1 August 2011. He has many years’ experience in the motoring industry

Inocencio Verde is the new Manager: Finance, Corporate Affairs and Administration for Otavi Town Council with effect from 1 September 2011.He holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics and a Diploma in Information Studies obtained at the University of Namibia.