The South African Post Office board has denied that Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams interfered in a lucrative R2.1 billion ecommerce platform tender.
Independent Media’s special investigations unit recently reported that a senior official at the SA Post Office accused Ndabeni-Abrahams of flouting procurement processes.
“Ndabeni-Abrahams introduced businessman and chairperson of private equity firm Convergence Partners, Andile Ngcaba, to the entity’s executives in an alleged bid to partner on a highly lucrative R2.1-billion ecommerce platform,” it said.
According to the report, “Ndabeni-Abrahams introduced Ngcaba to the board outside of normal procurement processes and were told to partner with him and his company on the ecommerce platform called Combat COVID-19 Africa”.
Ndabeni-Abrahams and Ngcaba have denied the claim, and the South African Post Office board has now entered the fray through a press statement.
The SA Post Office Board said it has noted with concern the article published in The Star of 2 October 2020 titled ‘Ndabeni-Abrahams accused of sneaking in businessman in R2.1-billion tender’.
“The SA Post Office can categorically state that at no stage did the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies interfere in the procurement processes of the SA Post Office in any way,” it said.
The Post Office said it is investigating the source of the malicious information fed to the media, which appears to be a disgruntled senior official.
“It should also be noted that at no time did the author of the article approach the SA Post Office for confirmation of the unfounded allegations made in the article,” it said.
SA Post Office ecommerce plans
The South African Post Office is pinning its future on ecommerce and is working with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on this project.
The UPU is an agency of the United Nations which coordinates postal policies amongst member nations.
It has developed an ecommerce solution for the cross-border market named the ECOMPRO parcel, which aims to accelerate ecommerce development in national postal sectors.
The minimum specifications of this programme include a maximum parcel weight of 30kg and a target delivery time of five days.
The SA Post Office has not confirmed whether it would implement this programme as set out by the UPU to enable its ecommerce platform.
The SA Post Office previously said that it expects ecommerce and financial services to comprise a major portion of its revenue by 2030.
Former SAPO CEO Mark Barnes said that the platform would focus on the export of South African-made goods.
“We’re going to be focusing on the export of South African-made goods on our platform,” said Barnes.
“It’s the Post Office’s vested interest to have a platform that promotes exports because the way the postal revenue works is the originator of the postal event gets most of the revenue.”