Scramble to save jobs at SA Post office as 300 are retrenched in Limpopo

Published Apr 18, 2024


The scramble to save the SA Post Office (Sapo) has not yielded positive results as about 300 Sapo employees were retrenched recently.

Previously, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, led by Minister Mondli Gungubele, announced that 235 Sapo branches were expected to be closed across the country.

This would result in employees being retrenched, after the conclusion of the section 189 process conducted by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Independent Media, last month, reported that among branches that were expected to be shut, 104 are in the Central region (Free State and North West), 41 in the Northern region (North Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West), 28 in the Western region (Western Cape and Northern Cape), 24 in the Eastern Cape, 21 in KwaZulu-Natal and 17 in Gauteng (most of Gauteng and the Vaal Triangle).

While it was announced that there would initially be between 4 000 and 6 000 jobs that would be culled across the country, in Limpopo 300 Sapo employees were retrenched at the end of March, having to have their last day at their place of work at the end of April.

The section 189 process affected most of those who had been working as postmen, tellers and drivers.

Although the government had said that they would intervene to reduce the number of retrenchments, this looked like a far cry with a lot more expected to lose their jobs.

Sapo was placed under business rescue in July 2003. A business rescue plan was developed four months later and it was adopted by Sapo creditors in December 2023.

Independent Media further reported that joint business rescue practitioners Anoosh Rooplal and Juanito Damons, who were appointed to oversee the business rescue, previously indicated in December 2023 that Sapo had 1 023 branches, of which 894 were active and 129 inactive.

However, in Limpopo, disgruntled retrenched workers vowed that they would not go down without a fight, laying bare their intentions to go to court to challenge the retrenchments.

According to reports, the convener for Polokwane in the province, Choshi Moraba, said the government entity had not been paying their Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions since 2020.

He said that during the past four years they had only deducted money from employees for pension and UIF, but were not paying its subsidy share to the same funds, adding that this will affect the amounts that employees must receive.

He accused the state-owned entity of wanting to pay retrenchment packages quarterly instead of a lump sum of the funds owed to them.

He said if they paid the money quarterly, the former employees would not be able to use their money the way they wanted to.

Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, Matthew Parks, said the end of Sapo and the retrenchments were a tragedy because some were not even getting paid at the end of the month.

“For many years now the post office workers have waited for months at a time to get paid. Even when they do get paid, often they don’t see the third-party deduction of the medical aid or pension funds to those funds, which is a criminal offence,” he said.

Parks added that most of these post offices that were closing down were because they could not afford to pay rent.

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