The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has released a statement condemning recent reports regarding irregular management and tender hijacking at the South African Post Office (SAPO).
A report by the Sunday Independent stated that Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams had turned a blind eye to an alleged plan by SAPO and Postbank board members to hijack a R2-billion social grants tender.
According to the report, board members are attempting to interfere with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) contract for personal benefit, endangering the projected profit of Postbank.
The report also stated that SAPO acting CEO Lindiwe Kwele and the company’s head of supply chain objected to this interference, resulting in them being suspended.
These executives were suspended due to their lack of compliance with the board members’ “quest to loot”, the report said.
“The Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies has noted, with grave concern, the unprofessional and malicious tactics employed by certain members of the media,” the department said.
“These tactics are designed with the sole purpose to tarnish the reputation of the person of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and ultimately distract her from carrying out the department’s mandate. The Minister constantly finds herself fielding media queries formulated around malicious rumours, lies and allegations.”
The department added that it would not respond to any media queries based on leaked information or rumours.
“We have regrettably observed of late, a trend that is becoming disturbingly common; the leaking of official correspondence between and within the department and/or its entities, to the media,” the department said.
Regarding reports of irregular board appointments and interference with management, the department said that the process of appointing SAPO board members was done according to set procedures.
“Contrary to what has been reported in the media, there was no termination of the contracts of any board member, but rather, their term of office had come to an end.”
“On the suspension of SAPO officials, it is important to state that this is an operational matter, which to the Minister’s knowledge and as reported by the board, was necessary and procedural.”
“In respect of Post Bank, four officials were suspended in line with internal procedures. The Minister has been informed that the former Acting CFO opted to resign and not attend the disciplinary hearing which, at her request, was rescheduled,” the department said.