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Post Office bungles R107m project

Aug 14 2011 16:34 Mpho Sibanyoni

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Johannesburg - The South African Post Office (Sapo) is continuing to pour millions of rand into a new retail system despite clear evidence that the project is not financially viable, according to a confidential report.

The document, which was tabled in March but which has been kept out of the public eye, illustrates how the R107m project, WebRiposte, has resulted in staff having to pay in money for cash shortages resulting from the new dysfunctional system.

The report says the project:

» Is susceptible to fraud;

» Has software glitches;

» Has overrun the budget by R80m; and

» Should be discontinued.

The WebRiposte system was launched in 2004 to replace the old PostLink, a point-of-sale system used at retail branches of the parastatal to expedite consumer service.

The new system has instead performed worse than the old one. WebRiposte has resulted in several faults linked to cash and cheque management at some branches.

“The system for no given reason will duplicate the transaction with the same date, time and values,” says the report, adding that the problem can neither be fixed nor can the root cause be identified.

“This unfortunately negatively impacts on employee morale as Sapo requires that employees pay in money for cash shortages.

“If the current trend continues, employees will be paying several hundred rands for system errors because the cash management function is not working correctly.”

When the mailing and banking parastatal launched WebRiposte, Sapo had budgeted R110m for the project. The goal was to roll out the system at 1 567 branches across the country.

However, Sapo has spent R107m on the project and only managed to roll out WebRiposte at seven outlets in seven years.

Sapo also took the decision to inject an additional R80m into the project and extend the deadline from 2007 to 2012.

- City Press
post office  |  sapo
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