The ANC's Jackson Mthembu. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/ANA

Johannesburg - The South African Post Office could have a full state bank licence before it starts distributing social grants in April next year.

This was revealed by ANC national executive committee subcommittee on communication head Jackson Mthembu yesterday, noting that they would push government institutions to use Post Bank for their banking services.

The ANC is holding briefings on policy matters in the run-up to its 54th national conference next week.

“The South African Post Office has been stabilised with adequate capacity at management and board level," Mthembu said.

"We have further made significant progress to license the Post Bank as a fully fledged state bank and expect this process to be completed soon.

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"We welcome the decision that the Post Bank will become the primary distributor of social grants from April 2018.

“We urge government as a whole to move with speed to enable the fulfilment of the resolution that the Post Bank shall be the bank of first choice of government, and primary platform for government and citizens’ transactions,” Mthembu said.

Replying to questions, he emphasised that they would present to the ANC national conference their proposal that all government spheres, including provincial and local governments, should use the Post Bank.

In Gauteng, the provincial government selected its bank of choice through an open-tender system in which local residents and all interested parties were invited to witness the tender allocation.

But now, if Mthembu’s subcommittee proposal on the role of the Post Bank is fully endorsed, it means Gauteng and other provincial governments and municipalities would cease to use private banks as their choice for transactions.

“The ANC must ensure the implementation of the resolutions to support the Post Office, including that government business must be availed to the Post Office through the intergovernmental framework and not supply chain management processes,” Mthembu said.

However, he did not say when the Post Bank would be issued with a licence but said those plans were at an advanced stage.

There had been regular interactions with the Reserve Bank, which issues the licence, and Mthembu said Post Bank had already met one of the requirements when it appointed a board of directors.

“Many countries have state banks. Like in China, where its state banks do business with the residents and other institutions. There is nothing wrong in that,” Mthembu said.

Another matter of concern to South Africans raised by Mthembu was the high cost of data in the country. The subcommittee would urge the national conference to involve the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) in reducing this.

“Icasa has managed to lower the prices for voice call rates (from R2.85 to 66c) through its regulatory interventions, and we encourage Icasa to continue the fight against high costs of communications by addressing the Data Must Fall concerns and the monopolisation of data.

“This is regarded as stifling economic inclusion,” he said.

The Star