Johannesburg - Sapo’s 14 000 permanent and 8 000 temporary
personnel currently have no permanent chief executive, chief financial officer
(CFO), chief operating officer (COO) and chief information officer.
Running without permanent chiefs has been cited as one of
the reasons Sapo is failing to resolve a strike that has disrupted the delivery
of mail for three months.
The lack of leadership at Sapo was reflected last week when
the mailing and banking parastatal released a media statement saying the strike
by its casual employees was over.
Few hours later, the Communications Workers’ Union publicly
denied the strike had ended.
The union this week marched to Tshwane’s Union Buildings to
protest against the use of labour broking firms at Sapo.
The two Sapo officials who occupy the positions of CEO and
CFO, respectively, currently do so in acting capacities.
The union's spokesperson, Matankana Mothapo, said having no
permanent chiefs had resulted in the parastatal’s decision-making process being
“There is no leadership at Sapo and serious decisions are
being deferred,” said Mothapo.
“Sapo gets 8 000 workers from labour brokers and whenever we
raise the issue about labour broking we are told that the management can’t
resolve it because there’s no permanent CEO,” he said.
“Having no chiefs is a problem because Sapo can’t take
decisions on serious matters,” he said.
The last time Sapo had a permanent chief executive was in
January, when Motshoanetsi Lefoka left the state enterprise following
allegations of a R425m tender irregularities.
The same allegations – involving the awarding of a lease
contract for the transferring of Sapo’s head office – also claimed the scalp of
the previous COO, John Wentzel, who vacated the position last October.
This resulted in Nick Buick, a temporary worker who was
Sapo’s CFO, being controversially appointed as acting chief executive.
He was criticised by corporate governance guru Mervyn King
for holding the two positions simultaneously.
“The jobs . . . are different. The CFO should report to the
CEO and the latter should have oversight of the work done by the CFO,” King
said last October.
“Consequently, the two positions should not be held by the
same person,” he said.
Buick has resigned from Sapo and is expected to leave at the
end of the month.
Mothapo said Sapo should permanently fill the vacancies of
chiefs soon because this affected labour.
“We need officials with authority to be employed,” he said.
Sapo spokesperson Lungile Lose said the parastatal has
advertised the positions of chiefs.
“The positions have already been advertised, with the
process being finalised within a few months,” said Lose.
He said the reason the strike had taken so long to resolve
was because the labourers involved were neither part of a union nor were
directly employed by Sapo.
“We expect the process to take between six and nine months
to be finalised. In the meantime, workers’ contracts would be renewed. The
striking employees have returned to work, in line with the interim agreement,”