Post Of­fice woes con­tinue

Em­ploy­ees only paid half their salaries

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - By Zo­lile Men­zelwa

EM­PLOY­EES of the South African Post Of­fice (Sapo) were paid half their salaries last Fri­day due to financial prob­lems cur­rently fac­ing the state en­tity.

The Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Work­ers’ Union (CWU) in the prov­ince, rep­re­sent­ing Sapo work­ers, has since in­di­cated that it was be­lieved that the aim was to frus­trate work­ers.

CWU pro­vin­cial chair­man who also works in the Queen­stown post of­fice, Bonke Mfenqe, said em­ploy­ees had sit-ins on Fri­day and Satur­day.

“We vow to take ac­tion as we be­lieve the post of­fice is us­ing this strat­egy to frus­trate work­ers so that some will be tired of this and re­sign. From Mon­day on we will be on a go-slow un­til there is a re­sponse. We will hold gen­eral meet­ings with our mem­bers across the prov­ince and ad­vise them. Iron­i­cally, there are work­ers who have been threat­ened with the no work no pay prin­ci­ple,” Mfenqe said.

A de­ci­sion on pos­si­ble strike ac­tion would be taken pend- ing an out­come of gen­eral meet­ings.

COPE spokesman De­nis Bloem said the party had been rais­ing the is­sue of the post of­fice sit­u­a­tion, with gov­ern­ment as­sur­ing cit­i­zens that the sit­u­a­tion was im­prov­ing.

“It can not be fair that peo­ple in gov­ern­ment, the main cause of the col­lapse of this and other in­sti­tu­tions in our coun­try through ill ad­vised cadre de­ploy­ment, con­tinue to en­joy life as nor­mal while the lives of work­ers at Sapo are turned up­side down. By com­mis­sion and omis­sion, the (Pres­i­dent Ja­cob) Zuma ad­min­is­tra­tion has caused Sapo to stum­ble.”

Sapo had to take on part­ners from the pri­vate sec­tor and 51% of the shares should have been sold at the be­gin­ning of the cri­sis. “Now its value will have tum­bled con­sid­er­ably. Sapo is on its knees,” he said.

Me­dia re­ports in April painted a bleak pic­ture of the post of­fice fi­nances.

The SABC on­line re­ported the High Court in Pre­to­ria re­jected a bid by Sapo to have its bank ac­counts re­leased, as part of a bat­tle by a cell­phone ser­vice provider to re­cover R50-mil­lion. Sapo bank ac­counts had been at­tached and re­mained so. The SABC quoted Bernard Hotz of Werks­mans At­tor­neys say­ing the financial af­fairs of Sapo were in dis­ar­ray was “putting it mildly”.

Sapo spokesman Khu­lani Qoma said to al­le­vi­ate the ef­fect of Sapo's neg­a­tive po­si­tion on em­ploy­ees, 70% of the salaries was paid.

“The bal­ance of 30% of all in­di­vid­ual salaries is due on the last day of Oc­to­ber. This is de­spite the chal­lenges posed by our neg­a­tive financial po­si­tion. We will con­tinue to de­ploy var­i­ous ef­forts aimed at im­prov­ing the sit­u­a­tion for the ben­e­fit of par­tic­u­larly our cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees.”

Var­i­ous ef­forts were be­ing made with the ap­point­ment of the “full-strength board” giv­ing Sapo the im­pe­tus to change the sit­u­a­tion.

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