Protector’s Post Office report finalised

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IOL  Siyabonga Cwele INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has completed her investigation into alleged corruption at the SA Post Office (Sapo).

Her office did not, however, say when the report would be released.

At the same time, The Star has reliably learnt that Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele had summoned the Post Office board to a meeting scheduled for Thursday to account for the string of alleged irregularities and corruption, and the ongoing strike.

Cwele’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, said on Wednesday:

“The minister would be meeting the roleplayers at the Post Office. This is part of the government’s efforts to find lasting solutions to the Post Office.”

The two main sector unions, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and SA Postal Workers Union (Sapwu), have been invited.

Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, said on Tuesday the report into Sapo had been finalised.

“The investigation has been concluded and a report drafted. The provisional report is currently undergoing quality assurance,” Masibi said.

The CWU and Sapwu had previously expressed unhappiness at the delay in releasing the much-awaited report. Madonsela launched her investigation into the Post Office in 2011.

In January last year, Masibi’s colleague, Oupa Segalwe, was quoted as saying the investigation “has been completed and it is at the report-writing stage”.

Masibi said this week the delay was “caused by the complexity of issues investigated and lack of capacity needed to expeditiously finalise the investigation”.

Sapo has been dogged by allegations of tender irregularities in the past few years, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

In February, President Jacob Zuma ordered the Special Investigating Unit to probe allegations of alleged maladministration and irregularities at Sapo.

In May, Zuma created the new Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services, saying telecommunications was an expanding sector valued at more than R180bn.

The entity is also under investigation by the public protector.

An independent audit report into Sapo, which The Star has seen, noted that while the “accounting authority” had embarked on a process to address the irregular expenditure, the misuse of public funds had continued.

“The accounting authority has therefore not taken effective steps to prevent irregular expenditure, as required by the Public Finance Management Act... Proper control systems to safeguard and maintain fixed assets were not implemented.”

Though Sapo spokesman Khulani Qoma had promised to respond by Tuesday, he had not done so at the time of publication.

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The Star

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