Post Office grilled at Parliament hearing

2016-02-23 14:03 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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South African Post Office. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)


Cape Town – The South African Post Office (Sapo) has come in for a grilling from Parliament's Committee for Posts and Telecommunications on Tuesday.

The auditor general’s (AG's) report into the financial performance at Sapo showed regression in key areas related to management, financial controls, taxation and goal attainment.

The AG showed that a lack of adequate financial control contributed to irregular expenditure of R576.8m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R95m.

“You need to entrench discipline to ensure accurate and relevant financial statements,” auditor Wikus Jansen van Rensburg told the committee.

Sapo reported a loss of R1.5bn in the 2015 financial year, and a provisional loss of R1bn in the current year.

Unreliable indicators

In terms of the organisation’s performance indicators, Sapo scored just 14%.

In its presentation, Sapo told parliament that the results reflect problems related to cash flow as well as the impact of the four month strike at the organisation in 2014.

“It is common knowledge that the results we are to present do not communicate a good story,” said deputy chair Bulelwa Soci.

Data from the results presentation further showed that Sapo posted losses of R227m in 2013, climbing to R407m in 2014, before jumping to R1.5bn in 2015.

“It is without doubt a shocking set of financial results,” said Democratic Alliance (DA) member Cameron MacKenzie.

Committee chair Mmamoloko Tryphosa Kubayi also expressed frustration at the situation.

“My agitation with the post office is that since 2014 we just sit with the same thing,” said Kubayi.

Acting chief financial officer Nicola Dewar said that Sapo had still not recovered to pre-strike revenue levels but that it has put mechanisms in place to ensure sound fiscal governance.

“We didn’t achieve any of our financial metrics because the Post Office continued to post losses. There was a lot of turnover of staff – we lost a lot of good skills,” she added.

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