SA Post Office Soc Ltd A/B: DCDT response to public submissions; Adoption of Bill

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

27 March 2024
Chairperson: Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


The Select Committee convened in a virtual meeting for a briefing by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies to consider submissions received on the South African Post Office (SAPO) Amendment Bill.

The Department responded to the comments and proposals submitted by the South African Express Parcel Association, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Council for the Blind. It assured the Committee that accepting this Bill, with the inputs from the stakeholders, would have a positive impact on the post office’s ability to fulfil its mandate, and by expanding SAPO’s mandate and ensuring its financial sustainability, the Bill would enable SAPO to adapt to the evolving needs of customers and communities, ultimately enhancing its service delivery and relevance.

The Members based their discussions on the current status of SAPO. They appreciated the Department’s presentation and the contributions of stakeholders, but raised concerns about SAPO’s status under business rescue, and sought assurances from the Department regarding the measures to prevent a collapse similar to what had occurred at South African Airways.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said today’s meeting held significant importance, as they were scheduled to receive a briefing from the Department of Communication and Digital Technologies (DCDT) regarding the submissions received on the South African Post Office Bill, and this constituted the primary agenda item for discussion at the meeting.

Alongside reviewing the Department’s submission, they would also take the opportunity to address any outstanding items from previous meetings, including the adoption of minutes and reports.

Apologies were received from both the Minister and the Deputy Minister.

DCDT on SAPO Amendment Bill

Ms Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani, Director-General (DG), DCDT, said the current meeting coincided with a Cabinet meeting, and both she and the Minister had commitments related to that. She was currently on standby to present an item, while the Deputy Minister was attending a Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) meeting, focusing on the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), which was a critical government programme. This SCOPA meeting was being held in person, hence their absence from the Committee session. Given this situation, she kindly requested the Committee’s understanding regarding rescheduling their meetings to a day other than a Wednesday. She anticipated that her Cabinet commitment would extend until after 12h00, and she would inform the Committee promptly if she needed to step away for that engagement, which pertained to the data and cloud policy.

She regretted to inform the Committee that there was no South African Post Office (SAPO) board in place currently. SAPO was under business rescue, and the business rescue practitioners were currently engaged in the section 189 process as part of their obligations. Despite her efforts, none of them was available to attend the current Select Committee meeting -- there was no representation from the SAPO board or executive management, as they were under the supervision of the business rescue practitioners. In light of these circumstances, she respectfully requested that their apologies be noted and recorded on behalf of both principals.

She provided a quick overview of the progress regarding the South African Post Office Amendment Bill. The Department had been closely monitoring the process, both within Parliament and the Select Committee. Their hope was that the Committee would consider approving the Bill, subsequently advancing it to the National Assembly. This followed the Portfolio Committee's approval of the Bill.

The DG said the postal landscape had undergone significant changes due to technological advancements, leading to a decline in traditional mail volumes, yet the SAPO remained mandated and obliged to deliver services in line with universal terms and laws. As a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), an intergovernmental body under the United Nations (UN), the Post Office collaborates with other postal sector players to ensure cooperation and develop strategies for sustainable operations. One such strategy was to provide relevant products and services that meet consumer needs and demands while ensuring sustainability. She said the Amendment Bill aimed to align with these objectives. The Department had engaged extensively with stakeholders and received valuable inputs to inform the Bill’s development. Submissions and inputs from various parties were also considered during this process.

Emphasising the importance of the amendments to the SAPO Bill, the DG said it was crucial to acknowledge the evolving trends within the postal sector. These amendments aimed to ensure that SAPO’s services remain relevant and responsive to consumer’s needs, while also promoting operational and financial sustainability for the entity. During the presentation, they would address the comments and feedback received from various stakeholders, including the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), and the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB).

She requested Ms Dimakatso Mojela, Director: Policy Research and Development, DCDT, to guide the Committee through the presentation, providing insights into the amendments and addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders.

(Please see attached presentation for details)

Ms Mojela introduced herself as Mrs Dimakatso Tshie, formerly known as Mojela. She guided the Committee through the presentation, focusing on the key objectives and addressing stakeholders' comments received by the Department from the Select Committee.

She proceeded to slide number 2, which concerned the amendments to the key provisions. As discussed in their previous meeting, the Department presented the Bill that was current in the debate on 21 February. The main objectives of this amendment bill were to revise the duties and expand the mandate of the SAPO, as outlined in the South African Post Office SOC Limited Act of 2011.

She said DCDT's aim was to repurpose the infrastructure of the post office to provide diversified and expanded services, leveraging partnerships with other stakeholders, and utilising its widespread network infrastructure. They envisioned the post office serving as a facilitator in delivering government services, a logistics and e-commerce provider, and a digital hub for businesses and communities. She said SAPO would act as a designated authentication authority, fulfilling its role as a national trust centre. They also addressed problematic provisions identified during the implementation of the Act and refined SAPO’s appointment functions for the stamp advisory. She outlined the key provisions being amended, particularly under Section 2, where new objects were being inserted to empower SAPO to provide a broader range of services, beyond basic postal services, aligning with national integrated information communication technology (ICT) policies.

Under Section 4, they were inserting duties for SAPO to adapt to changing dynamics within the sector, ensuring relevance and financial sustainability. This clause encompassed the main objectives outlined earlier. They also focused on the amendment of Section 7, which clarified that Parliament may fund SAPO’s expenditure for universal postal services and other mandated services, even if they were not financially beneficial to SAPO. This ensured that every citizen had access to postal services, regardless of financial viability. They encouraged all spheres of government to utilise SAPO's infrastructure for service delivery whenever possible, promoting accessibility without long travel distances. She gave examples of services that could be provided through SAPO infrastructure, aiming to transform the post office into a comprehensive service centre for communities in need.

Under clause 5, they were amending Section 8. Here, they were reducing the number of non-executive members of SAPO that the Minister could appoint from ten- currently eight or nine- to a minimum of seven. She said this adjustment aimed to address the challenges faced by SAPO and ensure that the number of members was minimised to avoid excessive costs. The revised number would still facilitate breaking deadlocks during board meetings.

Under clause 7, they were amending Section 11. In this section, they deleted sub-paragraph C of sub-section 4 to eliminate the requirement for any person appointed as a board member to have a banking licence. This amendment reflected the decision to separate the Postbank from the post office, treating them as distinct entities governed separately. In this section, they emphasised that union members submitting names for board appointments must ensure that nominees possess the required qualifications, skills and expertise outlined in the Act. The Minister would only appoint individuals who met these criteria.

Under clause 9, they introduced a new section that provided for the appointment of the stamp advisory committee. This provision outlined the appointment process, composition, eligibility criteria, functions, disqualification criteria, and removal process. It filled a legislative gap regarding the terms of office, appointments, reappointments, and removals, aligning with directives in the national integrated ICT white paper of 2016.

Under clause 10, they had amended section 17 to ensure that the performance contract of the chief executive officer (CEO) was concluded with the board, not directly with the post office, as currently provided for in the Act. This correction clarified the accountability structure.

Under clause 11, they had amended section 25, sub-sections 1 and 3, concerning ministerial interventions. They had removed a restriction requiring the Minister to follow the same process for replacing and removing board members as for the initial appointments. She said this streamlined the process, recognising the inefficiencies observed during implementation.

They had extended the term of the administrator from three to 12 months, with a requirement for the Minister to report to the National Assembly within 18 months. This adjustment allowed sufficient time for the administrator to develop and implement turnaround strategies effectively, addressing observed challenges during previous administrations.

Addressing the stakeholders' comments received by the Department, as highlighted by the DG, she said she would first discuss the input provided by the SAEPA, which represents over 100 businesses engaged in freight, courier, and parcel delivery services. Notably, private operators like those represented by SAEPA were not bound by universal service obligations, and operate outside the regulatory framework that governs SAPO. SAEPA had expressed concerns regarding the proposed amendments, particularly regarding SAPO’s expanded mandate outlined in Sections 2, 4, and 7 of the Bill. While SAPO was not opposed to providing additional services, they argued against embedding these changes into the Act, citing ambiguity regarding existing legislative provisions and the necessity of the proposed amendments. She said it was essential to recognise that SAPO must evolve beyond traditional postal services to remain relevant and financially viable in today’s digital age. Legislative adjustments were necessary to empower SAPO to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

On COSATU’s input, she said they had endorsed the amendments proposed in the Amendment Bill, believing that these changes would enhance SAPO’s ability to fulfil its mandate and legal obligations. COSATU recognised the importance of modernising SAPO’s services to include e-commerce, courier services, and support for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). It emphasised the need for a clear turnaround plan to stabilise SAPO and ensure its long-term sustainability. The allocation of funds to SAPO was welcomed, but COSATU stressed the importance of strategic partnerships and swift legislative action to implement these changes effectively.

Lastly, SANCB and Tape-It provided feedback on clauses 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Bill, focusing on expanding SAPO’s mandate. They supported the proposed amendments and offered suggestions on how postal and digital services could be tailored to meet the needs of blind and visually impaired individuals. Their input underscored the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in the delivery of postal services.

Addressing SAEPA’s concerns, she said they had argued that some amendments, particularly Section 4(1D) of the Act, which were related to expanding SAPO’s mandate, were duplicative and unnecessary. It was crucial to clarify that these amendments aimed to modernise SAPO’s services and ensure its relevance in a digital age. Litigation matters (under Paragraphs 2.8 to 2.10) mentioned by SAEPA have been deferred and are pending resolution.

In the proposed amendments outlined in Section 4, which aimed to expand SAPO’s mandate, SAEPA had expressed concern that these amendments may lead to the creation of a monopoly for SAPO, potentially hindering private operators from delivering similar services. She said it was imperative to recognise that legislative frameworks governing SAPO must evolve to reflect changing environments and ensure accountability. By codifying SAPO’s expanded mandate in legislation, they aimed to enhance transparency and parliamentary oversight, while holding SAPO accountable for its actions. It was crucial to dispel any notion of creating a monopoly, and she emphasised that these amendments seek to empower SAPO to provide sustainable and relevant services.

Addressing SAEPA’s concerns regarding potential monopolisation, Mrs Tshei said Section 15, sub-section 3 of the Postal Services Act (PSA), already prohibits the expansion of reserved services beyond what was outlined in the law. This safeguarded against undue monopolisation and ensured a fair market environment. She proposed amendments to Section 7 that clarified that funding would be allocated solely for universal service obligations, reaffirming government’s commitment to equitable service provision. It was essential to underscore that these amendments did not introduce further monopolisation, but rather aimed to broaden SAPO’s mandate to better serve the public.

She said SAEPA’s apprehension regarding unreserved postal operators conveying items described under schedule 4 highlighted the need for clarity and adherence to licensing regulations. While SAPO’s expanded mandate opened up opportunities for diversified services, it was crucial to ensure that regulatory frameworks were followed to maintain a level playing field in the industry.

Moving on to the submissions from the SANCB, she said their comments were primarily focused on clause 1, which pertained to the definition provided in the proposed amendment. SANCB suggested expanding access to post office services beyond traditional infrastructure, citing the closure of many post offices and the repositioning of vehicles as limiting factors for SAPO’s service delivery. They highlighted challenges faced by SAPO in physically conveying library compact discs (CDs) to their members, emphasising the need for alternative solutions.

SANCB recommended incorporating free electronic postage virtual services as a substitute for the physical conveyance of postal materials. Its recommendation underscored the importance of adapting postal services to meet evolving needs and technological advancements. The proposed definition of service points aimed to facilitate service delivery by allowing SAPO to utilise various infrastructures beyond traditional postal outlets. By broadening the definition of service points to encompass any location where post office services could be accessed, the amendment seeks to enhance accessibility and convenience for users. This aligned with the overarching goal of modernising SAPO’s operations and ensuring equitable access to postal services for all citizens.

SANCB also provided comments regarding the definition of universal postal services, citing UN conventions and Universal Postal Union (UPU) regulations advocating free literature services for the Blind. They emphasised the importance of maintaining these services as free, regardless of how the post office provided them. In response, they acknowledged their concerns and assured that compliance with international standards would be ensured through licensing processes, guaranteeing continued free delivery of literature for the Blind.

She said the SANCB raised the issue of universal services obligation, suggesting its extension to unreserved postal licensees to facilitate delivery of materials to beneficiaries, especially those in rural areas without internet access or assistive technology. As the Department, they recognised this recommendation and committed to considering it during the amendment of the Postal Service Act (PSA) of 1998, as well as through subsequent regulations and licensing procedures. This reflected their commitment to ensuring equitable access to postal services for all citizens, including those with disabilities and living in underserved areas.

Under clause 2 of their submission, SANCB and Tape-it proposed utilising the Universal Services Agency Fund (USAF) to establish community digital hubs, including training centres and business centres, in partnership with SAPO. The Department had acknowledged this suggestion, and affirmed that the amendments aimed to foster partnerships with stakeholders. She said that once the Digital Development Fund was finalised, SAPO would be eligible to apply for funding to establish such centres, complementing initiatives like the SA Connect project. SANCB recommended adopting services offered by other postal operators, citing examples from Botswana, Tanzania, Morocco, Switzerland, and Armenia. These recommendations aligned with their objective of enhancing SAPO’s service offerings through strategic partnerships, ensuring relevance and sustainability.

Regarding Section 7 on funding SAPO and utilising its infrastructure for government service delivery, SANCB supported the proposal and suggested zero-rating their websites to improve accessibility for members. The DCDT acknowledged this proposal and committed to exploring the feasibility of zero-rating websites to facilitate access to essential materials for the visually impaired community. As the Department, they valued these submissions and recognised their potential to enhance SAPO’s operations and service delivery. They would consider these recommendations as they implemented the amendments, to ensure that SAPO remained a vital asset for all citizens, including those with disabilities and those in underserved areas.

In concluding her presentation, she said that based on the submissions received, it was evident that SAPO operated within a legislative framework that governed its mandate and duties. This framework must be regularly reviewed to adapt to changing circumstances. SAPO should be legally empowered to provide diverse services that meet the evolving needs of customers, businesses, and citizens while ensuring its operational and financial sustainability. The proposed Amendment Bill would serve as a tool for monitoring SAPO’s activities and ensuring accountability, both to the Department and to Parliament.

The Department recommended that the Select Committee favourably consider these proposed amendments to the SAPO Act.

(Please see attached presentation for details)


Ms L Bebee (ANC, KZN) appreciated the presentation provided by the Department, and had one question pertaining to the current status of SAPO, which was under business rescue. She asked for assurance from the Department regarding measures in place to prevent a situation similar to what had occurred with South African Airways (SAA), where the business rescue process had collapsed. Given that SAPO was also one of their state-owned enterprises (SOEs), she sought clarity on how such an outcome could be avoided.

Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) expressed her appreciation for the presentation provided by the Department, along with the valuable input and submissions from stakeholders. She sought clarification on whether the Department was recommending that the Committee accept the Bill, considering the input and submissions received from stakeholders. Secondly, she would like to inquire about the potential impact of adopting the Bill and incorporating input from stakeholders on the directives issued by the National Assembly.

Lastly, she was interested in understanding if any aspects of the Bill had been contested. If so, could the Department provide estimates of the costs involved in accommodating and covering the expanded service mandate of the post office once the Bill became law?

The Chairperson thanked the officials for providing additional details on the potential amendments, and posed a couple of questions. He inquired about the current capacity of the post office to exclusively handle and deliver one kilogram parcels nationwide. If the capacity was lacking, how did the Department plan to address this issue? Secondly, there seemed to be a discrepancy regarding the automatic disbandment of the board once the business rescue process began. He asked for clarity on whether this disbandment was indeed automatic, as mentioned, or if there was a process involved in reconfiguring the board. What was the reporting structure of the business rescue? Considering the potential outcomes of the business rescue process, both negative and positive, he asked the Department to explain the relevance of the current legislative work on the Bill, and if passing it would ensure the continued existence of the post office, regardless of the business rescue outcome.  

He finally requested the parliamentary legal team to provide reassurance to the Committee that every aspect of the Bill had been meticulously examined. It was crucial for them to ensure that all the legal considerations had been thoroughly addressed, as their ultimate goal was to save the post office, revitalise it, and make it relevant in today’s economic landscape.

The Chairperson said the post office played a pivotal role within the country, serving as a lifeline for many, especially in underserved areas with limited connectivity. Safeguarding the post office was not merely about protecting a business entity, but about safeguarding national interests, preserving jobs, and combating unemployment, poverty and inequality. Given the importance of the Bill, the Committee must be assured that every detail had been scrutinised and that the legal framework was robust. He said they could not afford to overlook any aspect, as the stakes were high -- the post office was a critical national asset that must be preserved.

To conclude his question of clarity, he urged the legal team to confirm that they had thoroughly analysed the Bill, leaving no stone unturned, to ensure that it aligned with their objectives of reclaiming, restoring, and reaffirming the post office as a cornerstone of the nation’s infrastructure.


Ms Jordan-Dyani thanked the Chairperson and Members for their insightful questions and valuable comments. The Department appreciated the recognition of the strategic importance of SAPO; a sentiment it shared.

Regarding the concern raised by Ms Bebee about ensuring the stability of SAPO during the business rescue process, she echoed her sentiments. Last year, SAPO faced the threat of liquidation, prompting government, through a Cabinet decision, to intervene and rescue the post office. This decision was driven by the recognition of SAPO’s strategic significance and its role in delivering essential services to communities across the country.

She said SAPO indeed serves as a vital platform through which people access both social and government services. It facilitates the distribution of social grants, provides communication channels for remote communities, and disburses various government payments. SAPO played a crucial role in disseminating government information to the public. She appreciated the opportunity to address the Department’s recommendations regarding the inputs received during the amendment process. She emphasised that the Department fully acknowledged and valued the inputs provided by stakeholders, including the recommendations made by the Select Committee. The Department believed that incorporating these inputs into the final version of the Bill would enhance its effectiveness and alignment with the needs of all stakeholders involved.

In response to the question raised by Ms Bebee about the impact of adopting the Bill, she assured the Committee that accepting this Bill, with the inputs from stakeholders, would have a positive impact on the post office’s ability to fulfil its mandate, and by expanding SAPO’s mandate and ensuring its financial sustainability, the Bill would enable SAPO to adapt to the evolving needs of customers and communities, ultimately enhancing its service delivery and relevance.

Regarding the potential costs associated with accommodating the expanded service mandate of the post office, she said the Department was committed to conducting thorough cost assessments and financial planning. They understood the importance of ensuring that SAPO had the necessary resources to fulfil its obligations effectively, and they would work closely with the relevant stakeholders to identify and address any financial implications arising from the implementation of the Bill.

To address concerns about potential parallels with other failed business rescues, the Department had established an oversight committee chaired by the DG. The Committee comprised representatives from National Treasury and experts from various departments, including policy, finance, and legal. They convened monthly, and sometimes more frequently, to engage with the SAPO business rescuers. To monitor progress, they ensured a regular quarterly engagement between the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, the Minister of Finance, and the business rescuers. It was important to note that the business rescue plan adopted by stakeholders was aligned with the strategic objectives outlined in the proposed amendments to the SAPO Act. Specifically, the plan focuses on stabilising the SAPO’s financial performance, expanding its capabilities in areas such as e-commerce and cargo logistics, and revitalising its branch network and property infrastructure.

Ms Jordan-Dyani said investments were planned to enhance SAPO’s information technology (IT) systems, particularly in digital signatures and trust centres, and revitalise branch networks and property infrastructure. Investments in logistics, IT systems and mail processing equipment, would support SAPO’s expanded footprint and commercial enterprise efforts. The plan also emphasised forging strategic partnerships to enhance SAPO’s service offerings and sustainability.

While there was alignment between the business rescue plan and the proposed amendments, close monitoring of implementation was essential. The lessons learned from past strategic turnaround plans underscored the importance of rigorous monitoring and assessment, and the oversight Committee would closely monitor progress through monthly progress reports and provide input from government’s perspective. She said that despite SAPO being under business rescue, the Department, as a government enterprise shareholder, exercised its rights to ensure active involvement in the implementation process. This included assessing progress, providing input, and safeguarding the interests of SAPO and its stakeholders.

In response to Ms Ngwenya’s question and comment, the DG acknowledged that while some other inputs may suggest amendments to the Bill, it was essential to consider alternative avenues for their integration. Some inputs may find better alignment within other statutory instruments or processes, indicating that the Bill may not necessarily need to be amended to accommodate them fully.

Regarding to the cost implications of SAPO’s expanded mandate, she said it was crucial to provide clarity on the budget allocation and financial commitments. Initially, R2.4 billion had been earmarked for the "SAPO Tomorrow" strategy, but this allocation had been redirected due to the business rescue process. Despite this, government remained committed to addressing operational issues highlighted in the business rescue plan. The estimated costs associated with these operational matters ranged from R2.72 to R8 billion, indicating substantial financial support needed to stabilise and future-proof the SAPO.

She acknowledged the presence of her colleagues from the business rescue team and SAPO, who may provide further insights into the financial aspects if needed. She said it was important to emphasise that the funding forecast outlined in the business rescue plan would be closely monitored to ensure effective utilisation and alignment with SAPO’s strategic objectives.

To address the question raised by the Chairperson regarding the SAPO opportunity and the ongoing court case concerning its reserve market jurisdiction, she said that despite the legal proceedings, it was important to note that SAPO still maintained its legislative mandate regarding the reserve market. The current situation presented an opportunity for SAPO to explore private-public partnerships to optimise its operations. One proposed approach involved leveraging the skills of employees affected by retrenchment, such as postmen, to support motor vehicle delivery services. The initiative not only tapped into the growing e-commerce delivery market, but also addressed gaps in service, such as the need for proper documentation among delivery personnel, and by capitalising on SAPO’s institutional knowledge, the approach could contribute to job creation and bolster the digital economy.

Ms Jordan-Dyani said in light of challenges with regulatory enforcement by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), there was a need for all stakeholders in the e-commerce value chain to adhere to national laws and regulations. Building regulatory compliance capabilities and fostering a culture of adherence among industry participants was crucial for ensuring a transparent and accountable e-commerce environment.

Regarding the question raised about the governance structure during the business rescue process, she said it was important to note that the business rescue practitioners had assumed full management control of the company, as stipulated by the Companies Act. This meant they effectively replaced the board and the pre-existing management team. Currently, this was the status quo, and they had been in discussions with the business rescue team to ensure a smooth transition once the implementation phase of the rescue plan commenced. And as per the Companies Act, there would come a point where the business rescue practitioners would need to delegate their powers and functions to an accountable body, which could include the reinstatement of a board of directors. At that juncture, the authority and responsibilities of the board and management would be reinstated.

She said the Department was aware that the business rescue practitioners may choose to delegate their powers to a designated individual or team, as outlined in Section 140 of the Companies Act. They were actively engaging with the business rescue team to clarify when the transition would occur. Throughout this process, they remained committed to upholding the principles of corporate governance outlined in the Companies Act and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The rights and interests of the shareholders, including the government, would be respected and upheld. Currently, they are in compliance with the relevant clauses of the Companies Act, and they will continue to ensure transparency and accountability as they move forward.

Regarding the comment and question from the Chairperson about the outcomes of the business rescue process, the Department maintained a positive outlook and was committed to ensuring a successful outcome. This was why they had established an oversight committee to oversee the process and ensure that SAPO emerges from the business rescue process as a competitive and relevant entity in the economy. The DCDT recognised the strategic value of SAPO’s assets and its position both nationally and internationally, and they were dedicated to directing funding towards areas that would maximise its potential. From a governance perspective, they worked collaboratively with the business rescue practitioners to ensure alignment with the PFMA and uphold the rights of shareholders. The status of the Bill and the business rescue process complemented each other, with the objectives of the Bill aligned with the goals of the business rescue plan. Specifically, the amendments to the Bill aimed to leverage SAPO’s infrastructure capacity and extensive network to enhance its competitiveness as a provider of support services, logistics, and e-commerce solutions. She said this strategic approach would position SAPO for success in the evolving digital economy.

To conclude her response, Ms Jordan-Dyani addressed the importance of safeguarding the post office and its significant impact on jobs and the economy. The business rescue process, while challenging, underscored the importance of preserving jobs and supporting the broader ecosystem of service providers who relied on the post office. This included individuals and businesses that leased properties to SAPO and provided various administrative services. The post office played a vital role in many aspects of society, and the Department intended to ensure its continued viability.

Mrs Tshie responded to the question of whether the Department sought to incorporate the input received from stakeholders, the SANCB and COSATU, and said it was important to note that most of the issues raised in their submissions had already been addressed in the proposed amendment bill. For example, SANCB had emphasised the need for free services, both traditional and technological, which had already been incorporated into the expanded mandate of the post office as outlined in the Bill, and there was no requirement for additional amendments. She said it was crucial to monitor the implementation of the Bill to ensure that all submitted inputs were integrated into the licensing regulations and during implementation. The Department would engage with the post office to address any concerns raised by stakeholders, such as SANCB, regarding the delivery of services. This collaborative approach would ensure that the needs of all stakeholders were met effectively.

In alignment with international instruments advocating for the provision of free materials for the Blind, as well as echoing COSATU’s concerns, she said the focus lay primarily on the implementation. As highlighted by the DG, the emphasis was on how the Bill, once promulgated, would be executed to ensure service delivery, sustainability and effectiveness, along with job creation and retention, as outlined in the proposed clauses.

She said the submissions supporting the amendment bill had addressed all the necessary amendments, leaving no gaps to fill. The key focus has now shifted to the implementation of these recommendations. Some recommendations could even be actioned immediately, without waiting for the formal processing of the amendment bill. The Department would engage with the South African Post Office to relay stakeholder feedback, particularly concerning service delivery. Based on the analysis of input received, there were currently no provisions requiring modification.

Parliamentary Legal Advisor's input

Mr Andile Tetyana, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said it was essential to revisit the multifaceted mandate of Parliament, which encompassed law-making, facilitating public involvement, and exercising oversight. Parliament was constitutionally bound to ensure robust public participation in the legislative process, granting affected individuals a meaningful opportunity to contribute.

In reviewing COSATU’s input, particularly in paragraph 2, it vividly underscored the critical significance of the Bill. It emphasised that the Bill would revitalise and empower the South African Post Office, positioning it as a viable alternative for communities and injecting essential competition into the postal sector. Moreover, it aligned with the state’s developmental objectives, paving the way for the revival of the South African Post Office.

Reflecting on their previous deliberations in the other House, he said it was evident that stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the Bill, and none had raised concerns regarding its constitutionality. While some had sought clarity on certain aspects, they acknowledged the Bill’s progressive intent. It was worth noting the competitive dynamics within the postal sector, where differing ideologies may influence perspectives.

He assured the Committee that there were no substantive concerns regarding the Bill. He thought it was a progressive Bill, and was confident that Parliament could support it.

Committee Business

Minutes dated 13 March 2024

The first minutes to be dealt with were those of the meeting held on 13 March, at which the Committee had received a briefing from the National Electronic Media Institute of SA (NEMISA) on its mandate, challenges, and achievements, with a specific focus on transformation in the South African electronic media sector. There had been active engagement with the presentation, and discussions had ensued.

Ms. Bebee proposed the adoption of the minutes, and was seconded by Ms T Modise (ANC, North West).

The minutes were adopted.

Report of the Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication on the SA Post Office Soc Ltd Amendment Bill [B11B-23]

The Chairperson said on reviewing the report of the day, pertaining to the South African Post Office, and following the insightful presentation by the DG, the contents were still fresh in their minds and they were well informed about the path forward for their engagement. Given the focused nature of the meeting and its relevance to this strategic asset, there seemed to be no need to reiterate the details extensively. As a Committee, it was within their right to acknowledge and decide upon that report. He asked if any Member wished to move consideration of the report.

Ms Modise proposed the adoption of the report, with Ms T Mamorobela (ANC, Limpopo) seconding, and the report was duly adopted.

See report here

Closing remarks

In his closing remarks, the Chairperson extended his heartfelt gratitude to each Member and the officials present in the meeting for their participation, as this marked a crucial juncture in the country’s history. As the country stood on the cusp of a national election and commemorated the 30th anniversary of democracy, the significance of their collective efforts could not be overstated. The coming election would chart the course for the country’s future, ensuring the continuation of their strides over the past three decades. He appreciated the commitment of Members and officials to attend the meeting, especially amidst the demands of their constituencies, where they were tirelessly working to serve the people. Their dedication to fulfilling their responsibilities as representatives was commendable, underscoring their shared commitment to advancing the welfare of all South Africans.

As they concluded the meeting, he wanted to assure the Members that any future gatherings would be communicated through their standard channels.

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: