Communications minister Mondli Gungebele said on Tuesday that he is optimistic that both the SABC and the Post Office can survive, despite the parlous financial state of the two state-owned entities.
He said he is negotiating with MTN Group to release newly appointed SABC CEO Nomsa Chabeli early so she can start immediately on 1 January, as the “SABC can’t wait for the turnaround plan to be implemented”. Chabeli is meant to start in March.
In an interview with talk radio station 702, the minister said his department is not satisfied with the way the last bailout of R3.2-billion was spent, and that quality leadership is needed as soon as possible to boost the public broadcaster’s revenues.
Gungubele was also positive in his view that the insolvent postal service can be saved through a plan devised by business rescue practitioners Anoosh Rooplal and Juanito Damons. Pressed to commit himself on whether government will protect jobs at all costs – the plan proposes to retrench more than half of the 11 083-strong employee base, or about 6 000 people – the minister said: “As government, I don’t interfere in that process.
“What is more important than having people employed by government is to have a flourishing society and a viable state that increases economic activity and generates taxes,” the minister said.
‘Not a charity’
Gungubele said the Post Office was designed for serving society, in particular the historically disadvantaged. “It is not a charity,” he said. “It must make money and, to do that, its [reliability] must increase. But it must make money in modern ways, with more efficiency, fewer costs and more strategy.” It should use “modern ways” to compete with commercial services, he said.
“The Post Office must have e-service platforms, it must be connected and digitised, with logistical strategies. Someone sitting in Nkandla must be able to track his parcel without having to drive to a post office to see whether it has arrived, or wait for a notification slip to be delivered,” he said.
“The exercise can work,” he said. “And if it hasn’t in two years’ time, I’ll take accountability for it.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media