Johannesburg – The South African Post Office is broke and may not even be able to pay this month’s salaries.
This emerged this week when the Post Office Retirement Fund lost its bid to force the company to pay its statutory obligations including its workers’ contributions to the fund.
North Gauteng High Court Judge, Elizabeth Kubushi, dismissed the pension fund’s application to force the post office to contribute to workers’ pension fund.
In court papers, the fund maintained its budget was R744 million below the projected R922m budget and this declined by R534m compared to last year.
The post office indicated that only 55 of its 1 416 branches were profitable during lockdown and had a revenue of R125m, about half of its budgeted amount.
Revenue from bulk mail stood at R91m, 39% below budget, while overall revenue was also R744m below budget.
Staff salaries cost R1.2 billion, which was nearly two thirds of its expenses.
“Despite the risks in not paying creditors, the post office has done everything it can to continue to pay employees’ basic salaries, even if it cannot afford all fringe benefits,” reads Judge Kubushi’s ruling handed down this week.
The fund approached the high court demanding the post office pay to the pension fund and the fund to be forced to continue paying timeously.
Judge Kubushi dismissed the fund’s application with costs this week.
However, Communication Workers Union (CWU) general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala, told Independent Media that employees were still waiting for their 6.5% salary increases, which was agreed to in 2018 and was due in April, but was deferred to last month.
The increase has not been paid in six months.
The union called for the post office board to execute its fiduciary duties of overseeing the institution.
“(The) CWU condemn this thuggish behaviour and calls for those who are responsible to be expelled.”
“CWU has brought the matter to the attention of the Communication and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams over the weekend and we were equally shocked that the minister is engaging management to swiftly resolve it.”
Post office spokesperson Bongani Diako did not respond to questions on Saturday.