Niikondo perplexed by salary adjustment and bonus payout

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Windhoek

The Polytechnic of Namibia’s Vice Rector for Research and Academic Affairs, Dr Andrew Niikondo, last year received a performance bonus, had his salary increased only to be told two weeks later that his performance was below par and that he was incompetent.

This information is contained in Niikondo’s grievance letter dated March 27, 2015, that was submitted to the Polytechnic Council.

“I was puzzled because the rector had just paid me a performance bonus two weeks earlier, and my salary had been changed nevertheless my performance was being questioned. I expected to be evaluated before the bonus was paid and not after,” said Niikondo in the letter.

Niikondo said in the letter that the performance evaluation was done on September 24, 2014, while the salary review and bonus payment was made on September 8, 2014.

His grievance letter, however, was seemingly discarded earlier this month by the council’s management committee, which stated that: “A grievance action cannot postpone or stop a disciplinary action”, because the institution’s policy is clear that “if a grievance is submitted as a result of the disciplinary action, the disciplinary action must first be taken”.

Niikondo yesterday refused to comment on the matter
The former PLAN combatant further claimed his salary was haphazardly increased following a concurrent submission for the increase of the rector’s salary to the council.

“My salary was increased to my surprise on paper after the council requested to view the salary scales of immediate subordinates of the rector to determine the gap between the various salaries and to deliberate about the need for such an increase,” he said.

He further wrote, “Following this increase I was evaluated ex post facto [a law that makes illegal an act that was legal when committed]. This reeks of contradiction because all along I was accused of not performing in my work.”

New Era last week reported how Niikondo is set for a demotion when his contract lapses in July.
There are advanced plans to split Niikondo’s position into two, meaning Professor Tjama Tjivikua will have three vice-rectors, New Era also understands.

Sources said the new positions will be called vice-rector: academic affairs, and vice-rector: research, innovation and advancement, in addition to the already existing vice-rector academic and finance.
“I was extremely astonished to hear my job discussed in the meeting without my previous knowledge. I felt totally disrespected and persona non grata. Or else, this could be yet another attempt by the rector to get rid of me through a purportedly legitimate position,” said Niikondo in the grievance.

If the split is pushed through, Polytechnic will have three vice rectors. Currently, Niikondo and Dr Gert Gunzel, who is the vice-rector for administration and finance receives an annual salary close to N$1 million. The move would then mean the institution would fork out about N$5 million for its four top officials.

Tjivikua currently earns an annual salary of close to N$2 million, a sum that is overboard when one considers what the State-Owned Enterprise Governance Council and Cabinet resolutions stipulate a chief executive officer should earn.

According to the SOEGC, which oversees SOEs, has ranked Polytechnic in tier two, meaning the head of the institution should only receive a salary between N$451 739 and N$987 197 annually.
The Namibian in 2013 reported that Tjivikua claimed his salary was not subjected to the SOEGC caps, which classifies the Polytechnic of Namibia under tier two.

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