COSATU presents its submission in support of the South African Postbank Amendment Bill to Parliament

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) presented its submission in support of the South African Postbank Amendment Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee: Communications and Digital Technologies today, the 25th of October 2022.

The South African Post Office has been in financial freefall for many years now.  This has caused the retrenchments of numerous postal workers and seen their wages not paid, increases not given, and medical and pension funds payments deducted from workers’ wages but not paid to those funds as legally required. 

A staggering number of workers, the poor, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, those living in informal and rural areas and other vulnerable persons have long been redlined by the mainstream commercial banks leaving them unable or struggling to access banking and financial services.  Our banking and financial sector is rife with anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour, a tendency to milk consumers with excessive bank charges, exploit banking workers with slave wages, and an ambivalence towards supporting job creation and local investments and procurement.

The South African Postbank Amendment Bill will lay a foundation for the full operationalisation of the Post Bank.  This is critical if it is to be allowed to enter the banking and financial services sectors.  This will help inject competition into sectors that need a shake up.  It will help workers and the marginalised access banking and financial services.  The Postbank with its symbiotic relationship with the Post Office, will help to repivot, stabilise and grow the Post Office and ensure disadvantaged communities can once again access and rely upon its services.  The Bill is a welcome step forward in building a state bank aimed at consumers and SMMEs.

Whilst supporting this long overdue and progressive Bill, if it is to meet its developmental objectives, then government will need to give the necessary support, including recapitalisation, and the appointment of competent management for the Postbank and Post Office to grow and to thrive.  Equally, government institutions need to support the Postbank as an institution of preference for government banking needs.

COSATU hopes that the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement due to be tabled at Parliament by the Minister of Finance on 26 October will include a commitment to halt the pending retrenchment of 6 000 postal workers over the medium term expenditure framework.  The Postbank and Post Office cannot be sustained by empty chairs and demoralised workers.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks-COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator
082 7850 687