Cwele jumps in to fix Post Office, Scopa spat

Minister Siyabonga Cwele. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Minister Siyabonga Cwele. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele has stepped in to smooth over a spat between Parliament's Standing Committee of Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Post Office chair.

Scopa members have previously expressed anger over the no-show of South Africans Post Office (Sapo) chair Dr Simosezwe Lushaba at a briefing in Parliament on March 8.

Lushaba was expected to answer questions about flagging financial results at the state-owned entity. While Sapo chief executive Mark Barnes was present at the meeting, Scopa members demanded that Lushaba account for losses at the Post Office which climbed to R1.5bn under his watch.

Cwele on Tuesday said that he asked for a report into the spat and found that there was a communication issue between Lushaba and Scopa.

“It looked like to me a genuine problem of miscommunication. Initially, the chairperson was not invited to come and it was very late when they indicated that he should come when he has already made a commitment,” Cwele said.

Apologies

READ: Angry Scopa lashes Post Office over chair no-show

Responding to allegations of non-commitment, Lushaba previously told Fin24 that Post Office board members had presented themselves to Scopa in his absence.

Cwele has since indicated that he is keen to present himself at the next Scopa hearing into Post Office financing.

“I don’t dictate, but I’d like to be there - if I’m invited I’d like to be there because Scopa is a very important committee and so we are not seen as an entity that is defying parliament.”

He added that there were ministerial engagements with Scopa chair Themba Godi in order to address concerns.

“The way he responded to say ‘I can’t change my commitment’ was a little problematic but I’ve since then engaged the chair of Scopa, Themba Godi, and apologised for the miscommunication and I think he’s accepted it,” Cwele said.

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