COSATU welcomes the National Assembly’s passage of the South African Post Office SOC Limit

01 December 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the National Assembly’s passage of the South African Post Office SOC Limited Amendment Bill.  The Bill the foundation for a revitalised and repivoted Post Office geared towards ordinary consumers, in particular the poor and marginalised. It will also provide a sustainable way forward for the embattled Post Office (SAPO).

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

The Bill provides a new and expanded mandate for the SAPO.  It is clear that SAPO cannot rely upon simply posting letters in an era of e-communication.  The Bill provides a progressive shift by expanding the mandate of the SAPO to include e-commerce, courier services, support for SMMEs and an enhanced partnership with the Postbank.  The Bill positions SAPO to serve as a multi-purpose access point where members of the public could apply in future for key government services.  However, if the SAPO is to survive, then government at all levels, from national to provincial, from municipalities to entities and State-Owned Enterprises, must utilise the SAPO and Postbank as their service provider for their postal, banking and other services.

COSATU welcomes the R2.4 billion provided for in the 2023/24 Budget for the Post Office. However, it needs to be accompanied by a clear turnaround plan that can ensure the Post Office can be stabilized, repivoted and set on a sustainable path.  This needs to be based upon urgently expanding the range of products that it offers consumers; including courier services, access to SASSA payments and other government services.

It should not be based upon retrenching nearly 6 000 employees and slashing the wages of the remaining 8 000 employees by 40% as these will only serve to send these workers and their families into absolute poverty and collapse the Post Office’s capacity. The Post Office and Postbank cannot be sustained by empty chairs and demoralised workers.

It is critical the National Council of Provinces move with speed to conclude the parliamentary passage of this urgent Bill before the 2024 elections.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687