Postal union falling apart

2013-05-05 10:00

An official circular claims Sapwu structures on the ground barely exist

The breakaway SA Postal Workers’ Union (Sapwu) which represents about a third of postal workers, is in disarray.

Among the cracks in the union is a purge of regional leaders, a court case challenging national leadership and questions about millions of rands being used to repay mysterious loans from founders – which other officials were never told about.

After a three-year battle with the SA Post Office (Sapo) and a trade union federation Cosatu affiliate, the Communication Workers’ Union, Sapwu finally sealed a new recognition deal in February.

Internal correspondence and letters from a lawyer show that regional leaders addressed a lawyer’s letter to Sapo chief executive Chris Hlekane and head of human resources Maphutha Diaz demanding that all payments of Sapwu members’ fees

be put in a suspense account. They also asked Sapo to stop all correspondence with the five national leaders and instead talk to the six regional heads.

This was done the same day Sapwu general secretary David Mangena sent out a letter suspending 14 regional heads from the union. The battle has ended up in the labour court, where regional offices want to boot out the national office bearers.

Malandela Radebe, Sapwu’s Wits-region treasurer, filed the affidavit and alleges that the national office bearers “appear to have installed themselves as (national executive committee) members for life”.

The crux is that the union initially appointed an interim leadership with a three-year term in 2009, but still there is no national congress or election. An official circular from Mangena claims the union cannot hold a congress because its structures on the ground barely exist – raising questions about Sapwu’s ability to function at all.

Of the six regional divisions of the union, three “have no branches” or are “comprised of only two and three comrades”, said Mangena.

The leadership battle flared up during the height of the unprotected postal strike this year, which ended with the dismissal of 588 postal workers, while the union was apparently unable to intervene.

In February, Sapwu’s national office bearers allegedly resolved to recoup R3.6?million they had lent to the union, by way of levies on members.

A year earlier, the loans had totalled R2?million, indicating that the founding members, all of them postal employees, have been continuously pouring money into the union. But Radebe’s affidavit reads: “I do not know if these expenses are genuine and I submit that it is irregular.”

The veracity of the financial statements is questionable, as the auditors note “all the accounting records and source documents” of Sapwu were stolen in a business burglary in December 2011.

Sapwu levies a R60 monthly fee on its more than 3?000 members.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.