Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been threatened with legal action over her instruction that the SA Post Office (SAPO) board chairperson step down during a meeting last week.
This according to a report by the City Press, which cited a letter sent to the minister by the lawyer of SAPO board chairperson Tshikani Colleen Makhubele.
Makhubele was reportedly demoted from her position without warning in a move she believes to unconstitutional and against standard procedure.
The letter sent by her lawyer stated that the minister must revoke her decision as it constituted an “abuse of power”.
“Our client is not prepared to accept the minister’s misuse of authority. She has informed us that she will take legal steps to protect her rights, her reputation, and good and clean governance at the board of the Post Office,” the letter said.
It added that Ndabeni-Abrahams had acted “unconstitutionally, unprocedurally, and has been influenced and motivated by improper considerations, which exhibit bad faith on her part”.
The disagreement between Ndabeni-Abrahams and Makhubele allegedly stems from a deal between Postbank and Blue Label Telecoms for the creation of a system to distribute COVID-19 relief packages.
SAPO acting CEO Refilwe Kekana has launched an investigation into the conclusion of the agreement between Postbank and Blue Label.
Specifically, the investigation surrounds a letter that was sent to the National Treasury using the name and letterhead of the Post Office, despite it not being party to the agreement.
“Our client’s belief is that there is a definite connection between that issue and the demotion,” the letter stated.
“It is also clear that the demotion is a punishment for our client’s refusal to re-engage the erstwhile acting group CEO who stepped aside under a cloud of irregular behaviour.”
War with the Post Office
This follows after reports that Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was in conflict with the SA Post Office over the payment of the R350 COVID-19 relief grants and the appointment of a new CEO at the organisation.
Former acting SAPO CEO Ivumile Nongogo reportedly went against the board’s decision and signed a deal which linked the SA Post Office to the payment of the grants.
This was allegedly done without the minister’s backing, but landed Nongogo in serous trouble and resulted in him stepping down from his position.
SA Post Office spokesperson Bongani Diako dismissed the alleged rift between Ndabeni-Abrahams and the SAPO board as non-existent.
MyBroadband asked the SA Post Office for comment on the legal action threatened by Makhubele against Ndabeni-Abrahams, but the company said it was unable to comment on matters related to the minister.
The Department of Communications did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
Blue Label Telecoms investor and media relations manager Nicola White told MyBroadband that its agreement with Postbank related to the development of a national solution for relief package distribution.
“Postbank approached Blue Label to develop a solution to assist in the distribution of COVID-19 relief packages as a result of our extensive distribution capabilities throughout South Africa,” White said.
“Blue Label developed a comprehensive, national solution for Postbank’s consideration.”
“Blue Label has not been appointed by any government agency to distribute COVID-19 relief funds,” White said.