South African Post Office: retrenching (firing) 4700 employees

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05 April 2024

It was revealed earlier this week that the South African Post Office (SAPO) has commenced with the retrenchment of 4 700 employees. For those affected, this is devastating news.

Unfortunately, this has been long in the making, as the ANC continues its gross mismanagement of the Post Office. Since 2014, SAPO has received more than R10 billion from the taxpayer, including R2.4 billion in last year’s budget. Yet, despite this, 6 000 jobs have been lost – a number which is now expected to grow to over 10 000. This will mean that for every billion rand spent from the taxpayer, around 1 000 jobs have been lost. This is the ANC’s legacy, and they are solely to blame.

Last year, SAPO was provisionally liquidated, as it could not settle its liabilities of nearly R13 billion. Its branches could not pay rent, and landlords consequently proceeded with court action to recover debt owed. Upon National Treasury’s intervention, assurances of further bailouts were made, and SAPO was placed on business rescue.

Assurances of R6.2 billion were provided to fund SAPO’s business rescue process, to be delivered in two tranches. The first of R2.4 billion was allocated in last year’s budget, as mentioned. A second tranche of R3.8 billion remains, which the country cannot afford, as the ANC has also depleted the national fiscus. The DA unequivocally rejects bailouts at the Post Office, as a waste of hard-earned taxpayer funds that could be used elsewhere.

As these funds are unlikely to be availed, SAPO will return to liquidation, and R10 billion will go down the drain, along with thousands of jobs. Should the funds appear, jobs will still be lost, as the National Cabinet approved 7 000 job losses, which was revised to 6 000 upon mediation with the CCMA.

The DA, meanwhile, has been clear on the plan to rescue SAPO. We steadfastly believe that bailouts are not the solution and that SAPO must instead establish partnerships with the private sector, which has the necessary expertise and infrastructure. While SAPO is currently unviable, its remaining infrastructure, which also services rural and semi-urban communities can be of use.

SAPO remains crucial to the distribution of social assistance. With a new mandate, it can be set up for a digitised future, including providing e-services like high-speed internet rollout to close our country’s internet divide; local deliveries and distribution; and other services like municipal accounts, permits, vehicle licensing. This turnaround, however, needs to happen before it is too late and SAPO cannot be saved.

To the 4 700 employees to lose their jobs, the DA stands with you, and we will ensure that you are supported and adequately compensated. When we head to the polls on May 29, as a country, we must hold the ANC accountable for its wastage of hard-earned taxes and all the pain inflicted by job losses. It is high time for the ANC’s judgment day and for our country to turn a new page.


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