The South African Post Office (SAPO) CEO Mark Barnes announced on Wednesday that plans are underway to remodel the state-owned enterprise to a fully-fledged bank.
Barnes disclosed that the enterprise has, so far, taken advanced and recommendable steps towards securing a banking license for the remodeling.
He pointed out that the reason for the metamorphosis is because the post bank wants to start looking at financing what are traditionally known as unbankable or unsecured lending opportunities, as a start.
As an organ of the state, Barnes said, if given an appropriate cost of capital and an appropriate financial inclusive mandate, the SAPO can thrive and could emerge a critical element in financial inclusion.
He, further, explained that the SAPO has all it takes to bridge the wide gap between poor and general South Africans in the payment of some services.
“The poorest people in South Africa pay the highest unit costs of consumption. We believe that as an organ of State, the Post Office can play a role in bridging that financial services offering because we have a socio-economic mandate,” the chief executive added.
Barnes, who was addressing the National Press Club in Pretoria pointed out that the remodeling of the SAPO to become a commercially viable entity can be facilitated through several ways.
“There are a lot of ways that the that the State can use the Post Office to become a commercially viable entity. I don’t believe that privatization is the panacea for a transforming economy.
In fact, quite the contrary. I believe that privatization in areas like healthcare, education, personal security and all these things have, if anything, contributed towards a divided society.”
The SAPO CEO Mark Barnes, however, admitted that the biggest challenge facing the country is inequality, across all metrics.
On the general well being of the SAPO, Barnes delightfully announced that the Post Bank is doing very well. He said the SAPO has a very competent bank – which is a fully-fledged member of the payment system.
The Post Bank, according to him, also has 5, 7 million clients, functional systems, excess capital that is helpful even under the most stringent Reserve Bank requirements for capital adequacy.
He added: “We do something like 14 million transactions per month. We are a fully operational bank approved by MasterCard and Visa. We are part of the ATM system. Why aren’t we being used for the payment system relating to all forms of payment?”
In conclusion, Barnes said all is fine and working in SAPO except that currently, people no longer have confidence in the SAPO.
Some believe that SAPO CEO Mark Barnes’ job as SAPO CEO is the hardest in South Africa. He’s been in the CEO role since 2016.