On Tuesday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is expected to fulfill the promises she made to the Communication Workers Union (CWC) . She would be handing over the findings of her investigation into missing SA Post Office billions to the union that day.
CWU is a trade union in South Africa. The union was formed by a merger of the Post Office Employees Association (PEASA), the Post and Telecommunication Workers Association (POTWA) and the South African Post Telecommunication Employees Association (SAPTEA).
We will recall that the union submitted a case file to Madonsela in 2011. And since then, she is yet to come up with anything. Reports said the probe took her five years to complete due to internal disciplinary processes and a change of guard at the state postal agency.
Last November, more than 500 workers of the South African Post Office who were members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) organized a rally to show their grievance over Madonsela’s perceived delay in releasing the results of her investigation.
The workers marched to the public protector offices in Joburg. The CWU in 2011 had requested Public Protector Madonsela’s office to probe the mailing parastatal following numerous allegations of futile and extravagant expenditure and the dishonest awarding of tenders.
Reports from the file handed over to Madonsela contains comprehensive cases of corruption‚ tender rigging in the deal to secure the Post Office’s headquarters in Centurion‚ Pretoria‚ and a missing sum of R2.1-billion. The union workers were paid half salaries in 2014/2015 because of corruption.
Other grievances the union demanded the public protector to probe were: a failure to convert contract workers into full-time employment, equal pay for work of equal value as there are many people who do the same job but are not earning the same salary and a pay rise of 10% across the board for 2015/2016.
At that time, the protesting workers felt bad when they were told that Madonsela would not physically be taking their memorandum. However, CWU’s Velaphi Zulu was able to calm the angry workers down. Thereafter, public protector representative Winnie Manyathela promised that she would hand over the memorandum to Madonsela, who was out of the country, and promised to respond within seven days.
Last October, the Congress of the People (COPE) called on government not to a pay deaf ear to the plight of SAPO workers. The party thereafter, released a statement saying,
“It cannot be fair that people in government‚ the main cause of the collapse of this and other institutions in our country through ill-advised cadre deployment‚ continue to enjoy life as normal while the lives of workers at SAPO are turned totally upside down. By commission and omission‚ the Zuma administration has caused SAPO to stumble.”
SAPO has to take on partners from the private sector. In our view 51% of the shares in the post office should have been sold at the beginning of the crisis. Now its value will have tumbled considerably. SAPO is on its knees.”