Restructured Sapo will be ‘lean, agile and cost effective’, says Gungubele

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele at a press briefing yesterday. Photo: Lerato Sepotokele/DCDT

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele at a press briefing yesterday. Photo: Lerato Sepotokele/DCDT

Published Apr 5, 2024


Minister of Communications Mondli Gungubele says the restructured SA Post Office will be “lean, agile and cost effective”.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, he said the business rescue process currently being carried out was a costly exercise, but way better than liquidation of the entity.

In the his 2023 Budget, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana allocated a R2.4 billion bail-out to the Post Office.

Gungubele said government’s aim was to save the entity and ensure it continued as a business.

In this regard, turning the Post Office into an effective, innovative and financially viable entity remained the foremost priority of government.

“It is important to note that the SAPO remains fully operational and committed to delivering essential services to the people of South Africa.

“Despite the current challenges, the public can still expect to receive their letter posts, courier packages, renew their vehicle licenses, withdraw their social grants and receive their chronic medication through SAPO.”

As part of a restructuring process, 235 post offices were due to close across the country, most of them situated in the Free State and North West, followed by North Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Gungubele said: “The restructured Post Office will be lean, agile and cost effective. The BRPs (business rescue practitioners) continue to engage labour representatives to ensure a seamless process on all labour related issues.

“The branch closures will be effected in a manner that does not compromise the universal service obligations of SAPO. Altogether, there shall be 653 branches remaining open by the end of the year.”

Gungubele said he preferred to leave the issue of the number of jobs to be cut to be addressed by the business rescue practitioners themselves.

Practitioners Anoosh Rooplal and Juanito Damons on Thursday confirmed that some 4 700 retrenchment letters had been issued to staff to date.

They said retrenchment payments would be made over eight months, in four tranches.

“Further restructuring has taken place to reduce the branch network to 653 branches, from 1 023 branches. We are closing approximately 235 branches,” they said.

“All branches have been categorised into ‘open’ and ‘closed’, and work is being prioritised and organised to remove SAPO possessions to be auctioned off where appropriate, as well as parcels and mail in the closed branches to be redirected to alternative branches.

“Requirements for maintenance are being reported... with respect to open branches, which is due to begin soon. Allocated work streams include understanding the approach and practical fulfilment surrounding human resources, logistics, security, IT and approach in communicating open and closed branches to the public, among others.”

The practitioners also said they were currently seeking to stabilise service delivery by increasing the transport fleet, driving revenue through strategic partnerships, and collaborating with key customers.

Though the job cuts reduce the headcount from 11 083 to 6 383 workers, the losses are less than the 6 000 jobs estimated to be at risk when the SAPO’s business rescue plan was adopted by more than the required 75% of creditors in December last year.