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Prominence of Post Office must not be disregarded

(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Communications and Digital Technology)

Much is said about communications and digital technology in South Africa, like the state of affairs at the national broadcaster and the delays with broadband technology.

And yet the prominence of the Post Office must not be lost sight of or disregarded.

The Post Office is an important link in the country's economic development, particularly when it comes to the development of the small-business industry.

Since January 2022, post offices have been in arrears with more than R304 million in payments for leasing properties.

It has resulted in the closure of many branches, which is especially detrimental to the neediest of people who are dependent on social grants, and the service rendered by the Post Office in paying out these grants.

In an apparent attempt to get out of its financial predicament, the Post Office has started selling its properties on the open market via auctions. There are currently fourteen properties on the market. The revenue regenerated from these sales will, of course, not be nearly enough to settle the debt.

What is also interesting to note is that the reserve price of these properties is lower than the current market value. It raises the burning question of why an enterprise that is in financial trouble would sell its property for less than market value. It makes no sense.

At the end of the financial year in March 2020, the Post Office showed a loss of R1,8 billion. Its current liabilities exceed its assets by more than R1,5 billion. Its debt to Telkom alone amounts to R269 million.

Why has the Post Office gone so far downhill? It is not because of its business model. The sector in which it operates is also not to blame. It is no secret that many private post offices and courier services are doing very well because the failing Post Office has left a significant gap.

Numerous plans are being made, like a new business model, but they do not address the true reasons behind the destruction of this enterprise.

The true reasons are the same ones that have become synonymous with the ANC by now: Corruption, an inflated workforce, financial mismanagement and incompetence. Packages get lost and the service is poor.

Just like the SABC, the Post Office has been destroyed by crooks and parasites. Those are the true reasons.

This is about the utter failure of government, which has allowed the Post Office, and all the other public enterprises, to go to ruin.

South Africa and its people deserve better than the ANC.

 

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