Post Office sitting on mail 'mountain' - TechCentral

Post Office sitting on mail ‘mountain’

Siyabonga Cwele

Siyabonga Cwele

There is a “mountain” of undelivered mail at the South African Post Office (Sapo), MPs heard on Friday.

“We have a mountain of mail that is undelivered that is now quite substantial,” Post Office public affairs general manager Andrew Nongogo told members of parliament’s telecommunications and postal services portfolio committee.

Reducing this backlog would require Post Office staff to work overtime and at weekends, as well as bringing in staff from head office to help at various mail centres.

However, this could not happen if workers were absent and the labour situation at Sapo — where operations over the past three months have been crippled by strikes — was not stable.

Earlier, committee chair Mmamoloko Kubayi said highly critical media reports and concerned enquiries from members of the public had prompted Friday’s meeting, to give MPs an update on the current state of affairs at the Post Office.

But after listening for over an hour to senior Post Office officials and telecommunications and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele sketch details of another turnaround plan for the cash-strapped entity, Kubayi lost her patience.

“You are appearing before us and you do not even have the decency to tell us you have not paid workers today. That’s a wrong, wrong start… It removes the trust. You start wondering what else in this presentation is true or not… You are evasive in your presentation,” she said.

A senior Post Office executive scrambled to explain that workers had been paid, but late, after cash flow problems had led to the entity’s bank requiring a guarantee from the national treasury before releasing the funds.

Last month, the Post Office also had a problem paying salaries.

Two weeks ago, Nongogo warned that if cash inflows remained precarious, there could well be further problems.

Cwele told the committee ways had been identified “to make the post office more sustainable and efficient”.

These included restructuring the entity and the way it did business. “The current model is not helping us to deal with the cost issues.”

He suggested the Post Office should receive more government business. “If we as government can just increase our courier business by 20% — giving that 20% to Sapo — we’ll resolve most of the problems that are facing the post office,” he said.

Government wanted the Post Office to become the “centre of access” of government services in all areas, Cwele said.

According to notes tabled at Friday’s briefing, there has been a steady decline in Sapo’s financial fortunes over the past seven years, from a net after-tax profit of R377m in 2007/2008, to a loss of R359m in 2013/2014.

Nongogo listed other problems, including that the Post Office required a R447m injection to modernise its antiquated IT infrastructure.

On its finances, he said spending outstripped revenue.

The briefing notes show that on 30 September this year, the Post Office’s expenses for the current financial year were R3,3bn, and revenue R2,8bn.  — Sapa


  1. All in all a damned disgrace! How to fix the SAPO problem? First and number one priority GET RID of this bungling deployed incompetent Cwele he’s a political stooge put into this job as a gift from that other incompetent Zuma.
    Second stage: That mail must be moved and it’s the parliamentary committee’s DUTY to call in the army and private sector to do the job and bugger the unions. Mail delivery is a priority and if those union members who don’t want to work try and hinder this priority service then they must simply be arrested and or dismissed, better still, both. I’m tired of this egg dancing around these bloody unions.
    NOW GET TO WORK PARLIAMENT postal delivery is your DUTY.

  2. I suggest we should add another minister. Dedicate him to cooridnate the performance of all other departments with the Guinness Book to ensure we capture all these records. Highest mountain of letters, highest percentage of goevernment post delivered by couriers, highest number and most cash strapped departments and the best catch 22 to kill your core business, to name a few from this article alone.

  3. I suggest the following: FIRE THEM AND THE ENTIRE ANC CABAL WITH THEM.
    Why any country has to be saddled with worthless drone ministers in the 21st century is beyond me.
    There is technology out there that can do away with all ministers and so-called governments in any case.
    Why have them? All that is required is a group or core of managers to run the show and computer programmes to do the rest, I cannot understand why I have to put up with the likes of professional parasites such as these two buffoons, Cwele and Zuma.
    Hey Cwele! Get this between your stoopid ears, the SAPO has a function and it’s function is to: DELIVER MAIL. It’s not there to provide jobs for mutinous COSATU wekkas..GEDDIT? It’s very,very simple pal or hasn’t any grown up told you what goes on in your so-called portfolio? Do you pick up that fat pay cheque with a clear conscience? Yup, you probably do, but ethics never was a strong point amongst the ANC’s cadre cronies.

  4. Yip been let down twice now. PRO does not even respond to requests or queries. Supported them for 20 years , and told them that. Have pulled my business and speed services will not see me again. Long may they to toy and sit under the trees and eat KFC

  5. Greg Mahlknecht on

    I can’t take credit for it, but I saw a great joke – the easiest way to fix the post office is to start mailing the politicians and postal workers their paycheques 🙂

  6. It might well be poetic justice in getting their pay via the mail, but I have been innocently ‘had’ with these p+*cks in that I have 2 registered items sitting..where?? One containing a specimen signature!
    Also this to consider: What about the thousands of vehicle licence renewals that are also going…where??
    This is a national crisis and who do we have in charge of this nightmare? Yup, a Mr. Mumbles from the ANC. A total disgrace and an international joke.

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