The SA Post Office suspended its new interim CEO, Lindiwe Kwele, in December 2019, after just four months at the helm of the struggling state-owned enterprise.
Kwele was appointed as interim CEO in August last year when former Post Office CEO Mark Barnes resigned citing differences on a forward strategy in relation to the structure of the group.
After his resignation, Barnes said there was a competent team in place at the Post Office, led by Kwele, which can still realise the potential of the organisation.
Kwele first joined the Post Office in June 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. Before that, she was Deputy City Manager for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.
Business Day has now reported that Kwele and Mothusi Motjale, The SA Post Office’s head of the supply chain management division, were suspended on 4 December.
“The Post Office confirmed the suspension of the duo, saying it would allow for an independent investigation into unspecified matters,” the report stated.
Kwele fighting back
Advocate Eric Mabuza, who is representing Kwele, told Fin24 that the suspension is being challenged and has been referred to arbitration.
Kwele was suspended only two weeks after the new board was appointed and accused the board of delaying the process.
“How could the new board have familiarised themselves with matters at the SAPO within just two weeks?” he asked.
He added that Kwele “was just implementing decisions by the previous board”, adding that the suspension is related to politics.
The SA Post Office continues to make big losses, which required the government to give it a capital injection of R2.95 billion over the previous financial year.
There were, however, positive movements under Barnes. He said in the Post Office’s last annual report that the company was progressing towards profitability.
He added that the organisation was in a sound financial position, with no external bank borrowings or outstanding National Treasury guarantees.
The Post Office’s revenue increased by R897 million (19.8%) to R5.44 billion compared to the previous reporting period.
Expenses, however, increased even faster. Total expenses increased by R1.43 billion to R6.78 billion, which resulted in a net loss of R1.172 billion.