Mark Barnes, the former Post Office CEO who 18 months ago proposed a solution to bail out the failing state-owned entity, is not giving up despite his knock on the door of government having gone completely unanswered.
Speaking to Bruce Whitfield on 702’s Money Show on Wednesday evening, Barnes outlined the proposal he forwarded to then minister of communications Khumbudzo Ntshavheni that he said was a completely “self-solving proposal”.
It included the unions and was “basically to get in an independent body like the auditor-general to determine the net asset value of the group at the time of purchase, to determine the present value of forecast losses and to pay the net of those two losses”. Barnes said he would have undertaken to fund those two losses – with the aid of an international consortium.
He said when he left the Post Office in August 2019, it was the only state-owned entity that had no outstanding liabilities and did not require any funding. Although it was not making any profits yet, it was a functional entity.
Today, however, things are very different.
For a start, Barnes questioned the figures being bandied about. He claimed that between 2019 and 2022, a negative R9-billion accrued, to which he added R2-billion for pension fund and medical aid liabilities, bringing the figure closer to R11-billion, not to mention tax owed.
But he maintained the situation is still able to be salvaged. He said three things were vital to any attempt to resuscitate the Post Office: an agreed purpose to restore a functional entity; capital of at least R8-billion to settle debts; and a management team given a mandate for three years to deliver a competent service.
Otherwise, the jobs, data and infrastructure were all at risk of “landing up in the private sector, whose only motive is simply to make a profit”. He said if that happened, he didn’t believe more than 5% of the population would benefit from the service. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media