From chairperson to fighting in court – New SA Post Office battle

SA Post Office board member Colleen Makhubele has been removed from the state enterprise’s board, and has subsequently launched a legal challenge against the move.

According to a report by the City Press, Makhubele was removed from the board on Friday – and instructed her lawyer to file an urgent application to have the decision challenged.

This follows Makhubele telling her lawyer to challenge a previous decision by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to remove her as SA Post Office board chairperson in August.

“The latest impending legal challenge comes as the Pretoria High Court is yet to hear arguments on her initial demotion in August,” stated the City Press.

The court battle comes at a time when the SA Post Office is in severe financial distress and management disarray.

In September it was reported that the organisation was broke and would struggle to pay staff salaries going forward.

According to the report, the Post Office said only 55 of its 1,416 branches were profitable during the lockdown – and it had requested R4.9 billion in financial support from the government to continue operating.

R2.7 billion was required for operations, R1.4 billion in liabilities owed to Postbank, R300 million for voluntary severance packages, and R525 million for other liabilities.

The National Treasury said the Post Office was at a critical juncture, with its management structures in disarray and no accountability in respect of the poor implementation of its strategy.

Ecommerce plans

Despite the SA Post Office’s poor financial position and lack of solid management, the government is adamant the state-owned enterprise can be a major player in South Africa’s ecommerce sector.

The Department of Communication stated earlier this month the SA Post Office is currently repositioning its ecommerce strategy to be a driver of global exports and to enhance intra-African trade.

The SA Post Office will therefore expand its role in ecommerce and intends to launch a platform for online shopping within the next few months, aimed specially at facilitating interaction between small craftsmen and traders in South Africa.

South African ecommerce players, however, have emphatically stated they will not use the SA Post Office for deliveries – as it is infamous for its parcels being lost, stolen, or not being delivered on time.

Now read: Transnet reports R10 billion in irregular expenditure

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From chairperson to fighting in court – New SA Post Office battle