Cape Times

Restructur­ed Sapo will be ‘lean, agile and cost effective’, says Gungubele

- SIPHELELE DLUDLA siphelele.dludla@inl.co.za

MINISTER of Communicat­ions Mondli Gungubele says the restructur­ed SA Post Office will be “lean, agile and cost effective”. Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, he said the business rescue process currently being carried out was a costly exercise, but way better than liquidatio­n of the entity.

In the 2023 Budget, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana allocated a R2.4 billion bail-out to the Post Office.

Gungubele said government’s aim was to save the entity and ensure it continued as a business.

In this regard, turning the Post Office into an effective, innovative and financiall­y viable entity remained the foremost priority of government.

“It is important to note that the Sapo remains fully operationa­l and committed to delivering essential services to the people of South Africa.

“Despite the current challenges, the public can still ex- pect to receive their letter posts, courier packages, renew their vehicle licences, withdraw their social grants and receive their chronic medication through Sapo.”

As part of a restructur­ing process, 235 post offices were due to close across the country, most of them situated in the Free State and North West, followed by North Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Gungubele said: “The restructur­ed Post Office will be lean, agile and cost effective. The BRPs (business rescue practition­ers) continue to engage labour representa­tives to ensure a seamless process on all labour related issues.

“The branch closures will be effected in a manner that does not compromise the universal service obligation­s of Sapo. Altogether, there shall be 653 branches remaining open by the end of the year.”

Gungubele said he preferred to leave the issue of the number of jobs to be cut to be addressed by the business rescue practition­ers themselves.

Practition­ers Anoosh Rooplal and Juanito Damons confirmed yesterday that some 4 700 retrenchme­nt letters had been issued to staff to date. They said retrenchme­nt payments would be made over eight months, in four tranches.

“Further restructur­ing has taken place to reduce the branch network to 653 branches, from 1 023 branches. We are closing approximat­ely 235 branches,” they said.

“All branches have been categorise­d into ‘open’ and ‘closed’, and work is being prioritise­d and organised to remove Sapo possession­s to be auctioned off where appropriat­e, as well as parcels and mail in the closed branches to be redirected to alternativ­e branches.

“Requiremen­ts for maintenanc­e are being reported … with respect to open branches, which is due to begin soon. Allocated work streams include understand­ing the approach and practical fulfilment surroundin­g human resources, logistics, security, IT and approach in communicat­ing open and closed branches to the public, among others.”

The practition­ers also said they were currently seeking to stabilise service delivery.

 ?? COMMUNICAT­IONS and Digital Technologi­es Minister Mondli Gungubele at a press briefing yesterday. | DCDT ??
COMMUNICAT­IONS and Digital Technologi­es Minister Mondli Gungubele at a press briefing yesterday. | DCDT

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