Post Office ‘welcomes’ public protector report

Johannesburg - The South African Post Office (Sapo) says it is taking on board Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning report on corruption at the parastatal.

Madonsela’s report, dubbed ‘Postponed Delivery’, said Sapo’s acquisition of a R161m ten-year lease in 2010 for its head office in Centurion, Gauteng was “unlawful” owing to irregularities.

READ: Post Office Centurion lease was unlawful - public protector

The report further found that Sapo had incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure by making upfront rental payments from May 2010 to March 2011 totalling R22m. These payments were made prior to Sapo occupying the building.

The parastatal had also improperly appointed labour brokers who operated without contracts, Madonsela found.

Subsequently, Madonsela has ordered Sapo to recover the R22m paid to Centurion Vision Development for the upfront rental paid for the Eco Point Office Park building.

And Sapo said it plans to implement Madonsela's remedial actions.

“As the Board of the SA Post Office, we welcome the report of the Public Protector,” said Sapo in a statement.

“We will ensure that her remedial actions are fully implemented,” said the company.

Sapo added that Madonsela’s report “marks a major milestone in the restoration of normality and confidence-building at the SA Post Office”.

Sapo is struggling to financially sustain itself as the parastatal in Parliament on Tuesday reported a R1.5bn loss for the 2015 financial year.

In October last year, the company further struggled to pay staff salaries.

Amid these problems, ex-banker Mark Barnes was last month appointed as Sapo’s new group chief executive officer.

Barnes, in Parliament on Tuesday, vowed to implement strict financial controls at Sapo. He also projected that Sapo could be profitable again by the 2018 financial year.

Sapo, in its statement, said the public protector’s report along with a turnaround strategy are positive developments for the embattled company.

“The report adds a critical impetus to the turnaround of the SA Post Office which is already in progress having been set in motion during the administration period and taken forward with the appointment of the new board of directors and senior executives, including the new group CEO,” said the company.

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