Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has slammed the South African Post Office (Sapo) for the absence of its chairperson at a key meeting into the financial viability of the state-owned entity.
Sapo chair Dr Simosezwe Lushaba on Tuesday missed a hearing into the financial affairs at the Post Office.
Sapo last month reported a R1.5bn loss for the 2015 financial year.
“We are going to call them back and insist that the minister should also come just to demonstrate the fact that public funds management and administration should be taken seriously,” an angry Scopa chair Themba Godi told Fin24 after the meeting.
“Here is a Post Office that is losing about R125m every month, according to them. Surely, they should be in a state of panic and indeed give their time, attention and energy to ensuring that they stop the bleeding. We just cannot accept this,” he added.
Sapo chief executive Mark Barnes made a number of attempts to reassure the committee that he could speak to the financial plans of the organisation, but Godi would have none of it.
“No, he (Barnes) doesn’t understand the law. The PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] says: Where you have a board, the board is the accounting authority and that is the one that accounts to Parliament. He as the CEO accounts to the board; the board accounts to Parliament,” Godi told Fin24.
Approached for comment following the abruptly ended meeting, Barnes told Fin24: “No comment.”
Godi also said that Lushaba should have given the committee more notice about his inability to attend the meeting on Tuesday.
“The main challenge here is lackadaisical attitude because if he (Sapo chair Dr Simosezwe Lushaba) knew that he had prior commitments, then they should have responded to us on the 20 February… then we could have made alternative arrangements – but you can’t tell us less than seven days before the hearing you can’t make it,” Godi told Fin24.