Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s ombudsman, has released the findings of her investigation into the South African Post Office (Sapo) which has guilty of maladministration.

The Post Office has been dogged by allegations of corruption and tender rigging. Strike action at the State postal agency resulted in services being affected across the country.

The Public Protector said on Tuesday that she had found that the Post Office’s acquisition of a lease worth 160 million Rand (about 10.4 million US dollars) to house its head office was fraught with procurement irregularities and corruption.

She released the findings of an investigation which was carried out after she was approached by two unions.

Madonsela said: “The conduct of the Sapo GCEO (group chief executive officer) in approving the safe havens for an unoccupied building was in violation of the provisions of Section 83, which prohibits irregular expenditure.

“The acts and omissions of the Post Office regarding the fruitless and wasteful expenditure arising from the 10-month rental towards an unoccupied building constitutes maladministration and improper or unlawful enrichment of the owners of the building, Centurion Vision Development Pty Ltd, to R22 million.”

Madonsela has asked the Board of Directors of the South African Post Office to take effective and appropriate steps to recover the amount of R22 million that SAPO paid to Centurion Vision Development for the upfront rental payment when it had not taken occupation of the Ecopoint building between 2010 and 2011.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) had alleged that the Post Office management was involved in corrupt activities at the time when the lease agreement was obtained.

Madonsela has also recommended that the supply chain management policies be reviewed to ensure that there is proper compliance in the handling of all procurement matters. –

Source: SABC