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Future of Postbank still in the balance after Barnes resignation

Sep 03 2019 22:01
Khulekani Magubane

Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has said that differences in determining the fate of Postbank were behind the decision of Mark Barnes to resign as CEO of the South African Post Office, and that talks are still underway to determine a path forward.

Barnes announced his resignation from the Post Office in August after serving as CEO for three and a half years, with the Post Office releasing a statement saying he resigned over "differences on the future strategy relating to the structure of the SA Post Office group and in particular the location of Postbank".

Ndabeni-Abrahams told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday that the department was determined to finalise the details of Postbank's future in order to remove impediments to the state-owned entity's ability to play a role in the country's development.

"We had to get a briefing and were informed that Mr Mark Barnes resigned because of the issues in the approval of the holding of the application for Postbank," she said. 

Postbank falls under the Post Office group and offers some financial products and services such as saving accounts and deposit facilities. The South African Reserve Bank had had concerns in the process of determining whether to grant Postbank a banking license, the minister added. 

Earlier this year, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services gazetted a notice to transfer the Postbank from the Post Office to the South African Postbank Company, once it is incorporated and running.

"As we have been engaging with the matter, the (SARB) are looking for certainty on a number of things. We are considering the different options, such as reopening the conversation of whether the Postbank shareholder will be Communications or National Treasury," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

In a written submission also made to the portfolio committee on Tuesday, the Department of Communications said the Post Office posted total revenue of R1.3bn in the first quarter of the 2019-20 financial year, an under-performance of R116m, compared to budgeted revenue of R1.4bn.

"Total expenditure for the quarter amounted to R1.5bn. It was under budget by R203m when compared to the budgeted expenditure of R1.7bn. The employee costs contribute 59% of the total expenditure," the submission said.

The submission added that revenue of R18m was realised from the digital terrestrial television project and R81m motor vehicle license renewal revenue. It also said the net loss of R141m for the quarter was an improvement compared to the net lows of R268m in the 2018-19 financial year.

postbank  |  sarb  |  post office  |  stella ndabeni abrahams
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