Govt plans for Postbank are 'backward', belong in Thatcher era - union | Fin24
 
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Govt plans for Postbank are 'backward', belong in Thatcher era - union

Sep 27 2019 11:33
Compiled by Khulekani Magubane

The Communication Workers Union says that it rejects government’s plans for the future of Post Bank, which may include separating the bank from the Post Office and the Department of Communications, and placing it under National Treasury.

Earlier in September, Minister of Communication Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications that government was considering different options for the bank, such as "reopening the conversation of whether the Postbank shareholder will be Communications or National Treasury".

During a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday CWU secretary general Aubrey Tshabalala told reporters that placing the bank under National Treasury was at odds with best practice globally.

"As CWU we reject the unbundling of the South African Post Office. We see a move by National Treasury to take away Postbank from the South African Post Office as not only backward, but not in line with the international best practice," he said.

If government wanted to build an effective, efficient and global competitive postal service, he said it needed an integrated network that was congruent with security, parcel clearance, currency conversion and delivery.

"The Royal Mail, with its Thatcherism, took a similar position to what has been proposed now by the Treasury, and that led to almost collapse of the Royal Mail, with massive job losses.

"Why should we repeat the same error? In the new post and courier world today, the new challenges in the Postal and Courier Services environment are largely informed by […] consumer behaviour, digitisation security and the liberalisation of the market," Tshabalala said.

Tshabalala urged government to use the Post Office and Postbank as an opportunity to exploit opportunities in the electronic commerce space. 

"To disaggregate Post Bank from South African Post Office will have dire consequences to the livelihood of the SOE.  As a labour movement, we strongly believe that this move will have unintended consequences which will lead to the poor being deprived of quality services and massive job losses," he said.

Tshabalala said the union was of the view that separating Postbank from the Post Office would mean that government was looking to cripple the entity and sell it to private investors for a song.

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