Labor Minister: Change of the time zone “gives leverage” to workers

South Sudan Minister of Labor James Hoth Mai spokes about change of Time Zone the country introduced

South Sudan Minister of Labor, James Hoth Mai has defended the government’s decision to change its time zone from Eastern Africa plus three to two hours. Official marked the country plunged into Central Africa time zone with Burundi and Rwanda.

The government publicly announced its decision to set back its time zone of one hour behind Eastern Africa time on January 15th this year. A new time zone shall be sufficient on February 1st, 2021.

In 1997 former Sudanese president Omar El Bashir joined the Eastern Time before South Sudan achieved its independence on July 9th, 2011. And Sudan reverted to its original time zone in 2017.

According to the Labor office, South Sudan lies between 24 to 36 degrees East of the Greenwich line. The prime meridian divided the world into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

The government said the unanimous decision was made based on the geographical longitude. South Sudan does not fall on the Eastern Greenwich meridian.

Mr. Mai said that the government’s decision to change the Eastern Africa community’s time zone would not affect the regular working hours in labor law. People will still work an aggregate time of eight hours per day, starting from 8 am to 5pm.

“We are not observing the day time saving because our border is different from Ethiopia in the far East. We have different of twenty-four minutes. Sun gets rise there in twenty-four minutes before it comes to us here. But, when you go far west in Raja area, we have additional thirty-six minutes, our sunset goes down here while still day time in Raja area. When you rounded them up, added twenty-four and thirty-six minutes, it will be sixty. And divide two it will give you two hour”.

James Hoth further explained the country was using Eastern Africa for “reason not known.” He said changing the time zone was related to the security situation to protect citizens from unknown shooters because the country was not electrified. 

He urged the public to pull back their time by one hour in February when the time zone comes into effect. The time zone shall change automatically to an electronic smartphone.

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