An Open Letter to the President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit

Posted: June 7, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Letters, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Dut Deng Kok, Juba, South Sudan

President Kiir with his look-alike, Hon Mayen Wol
President Kiir with his look-alike, Hon Mayen Wol

Friday, 07 June 2019 (PW) — Dear Mr President, I am writing to offer you best wishes, following your recent mandate for a new term, as a result of your commitment to peace and open a national dialogue to the people of South Sudan. I congratulate you on the unbelievable and critical role you have played during signing of Realized peace agreement in this wonderful nation (South Sudan) and I firmly believe that you will continue to do so.

I congratulating you on leading your Party’s success at this critical time of war, I should note that we support your government in public commitment to address any and all corruption within your Government. I want South Sudan to be a beacon’ for not only the continent of Africa, but globally.

The legacy of the founding leadership the new South Sudan provided an important example; we wish you well in ensuring that your generation can build on that foundation in the new challenges of these times. In the same line, I would like to thank you for what you have done for South Sudanese people previously during struggle till independent time, but it is time to move into greener pastures.

There is one important issue that I would like to bring to your attention because I believe there has been and continues to be a serious misunderstanding regarding pay differentials. Legally, employers and national staff are obliged to eliminate all differentials that are disproportionate within the so-called seven “occupational levels”, but they are really decision-making levels.

 We need ministry of labour to conducted workshops to examine the wage structures especially in the commercial banks. We want labour ministry to focus on decision-making and advocated the right of citizens did we one day get those positions in Kenya? But in the workshop needed to be organizing by the ministry of labour, we want it to become clear that to avoid overlapping pay within the levels there needed to be seven distinct levels to ensure rationality.

This resulted in the belief that to eliminate the “wage gap” and ensure a rational and justifiable relationship between pay and actual work, there needed to be a constant proportional differential across all the seven levels. Unfortunately, when the Employment Equity Act of 2017 labour Act; was promulgated, it only provided for six categories and occupational levels.

It did not take long to scrap the categories, but the six levels remained, presumably based on the false assumption that this was acceptable. Recently the six levels were increased to seven, but a very serious error occurred. Instead of separating one of the critical middle levels, a level was added at the top.

So, in the same category, we presently have: “Junior management, supervisors, superintendents and specialists” and “Skilled technical and academically qualified employees and foremen all these categories, 80% of the employees are Kenyan, and 20% of employees are national staff. My question is; who is the citizen of this country? Kenyan or south Sudanese? They have gone far to even the bring their divers from Kenya and cooks, don’t we have cooks and drivers here in South Sudan or our citizen are not ready to work?

It should be obvious to anyone that employees in these two categories do not perform work or make decisions of equal value. Junior managers/national staffs are vital and are potential candidates for upskilling into more senior management functions yet they have been under paid by the management of Kenyan’s commercial banks.

They ensure that management decisions are implemented. This means giving effect to the strategic and tactical decisions made by senior and middle management who in turn give effect to the policy decisions made by top management. In other words, National staff decide the “how”, “who” and “when” questions.

There is no good rational reason why they national staff should not be paid up to 100% like any other international staff and the national staff employees at the level below international? But as matters now stand, they are not all grouped in the same category and this clearly discriminates unfairly against the National staff (South Sudanese).

The simple solution is to create seven rational and justifiable levels as follows:

Occupational Levels
1 Top management
2 Senior managements
3 Mid-management and professionally qualified and experienced specialists
4 Junior management, supervisors, superintendents and specialists
5 Skilled technical and academically qualified employees and foremen
6 Semi-skilled and discretionary decision making
7 Unskilled and defined decision making

In other words, there has to be a straight-line wage curve that is generic, but the slope will depend on the nature of the enterprise itself. Unless and until this serious flaw in the reporting structures is eliminated and corrected the information that is being gathered annually is totally useless and in fact grossly misleading.

Another issue that deserves urgent attention is that employees in the lowest levels tend to be subsidised by employers to cater for various services that are not provided by the State, due to no fault at this stage of our development.

In itself, there is nothing wrong with this “subsidy” approach provided the actual wage paid to those lower-level employees is not used as the basis for determining the pay of senior managers. In other words, unless that “subsidy” is disregarded when creating the pay curve, it will allow senior managers to justify much higher pay than is actually justifiable.

The job evaluation systems but it is suggested that it is possible to achieve rational and fair pay differentials with the single factor of “decision-making”. So, Mr President, please cause the present flawed system to be examined to verify if what I am drawing to your attention deserves correcting in the interests of being able to determine genuine disproportionate pay differentials.

Dut Deng Kok is a south Sudanese opinion writer and he can reachable visa email; dutmanyang@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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