The SA Post Office achieved a 3 percent increase in revenue to R5.8 billion for the financial year to March, the state-owned utility said yesterday.
This was despite an environment where established global postal operators faced structural decline with a fall in mail volumes and stiff commercial pressures, said the chairwoman of the board, Vuyo Mahlati.
Mail volumes declined for the third consecutive year, down 3.7 percent from the year before.
Mahlati said it was commendable that the Post Office’s revenue diversification strategy continued to strengthen.
The results were presented by Nick Buick, the acting chief financial officer. The chief executive, Motshoanetsi Lefoka, is on suspension and the chief operations officer, John Wentzel, resigned recently amid a probe into the lease of the group’s Centurion offices, which revealed irregular and wasteful expenditure of R450 million.
Buick said the Post Office made a profit before tax of R235 million. This was the seventh consecutive year of profitability for the parastatal.
The group is aiming at corporatising Postbank following the promulgation of the Postbank Act.
The Post Office and the Department of Communications want to see Postbank as a separate corporate entity, albeit wholly owned by the group.
Mahlati said: “This is especially significant as it allows the SA Post Office to further deliver on its mandate of enabling universal access and bringing the previously unbanked and underserved communities into the economic mainstream through relevant and necessary banking products.”
Postbank’s depositor’s funds were up 9 percent to R4bn.
Buick said Postbank recorded an increase in non-interest revenue as well as an increase of R331m in its depositors’ book, despite a low interest rate environment.
He said the Post Office gave postal addresses to 1.7 million new households during the financial year, 65 percent of them in rural and informal settlements.
“We punch above our weight and globally we are doing very well,” Buick said.
The Speed Services division handles 45 000 parcels each working day and the parcel service 15 000 items.
A total of 45 000 items are scanned through the group’s track-and-trace system each working day.
Although the Post Office received subsidies from the government, these were declining.
Buick said the board continued to proactively align itself with the King 3 code of good corporate governance and the new Companies Act.
Regarding the probe into the wasted R450m, Mahlati said: “There is no way we can say we are proud of what is happening. We have had a very difficult situation but we have not had a crisis.
“Everybody is concentrating on remedial action.”