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'Post Office needs over R1 billion to get out of debt'

Post Office representatives say the money forms part of its strategic plan to deal with the ongoing crisis.

FILE: Last year the Post Office lost its entire board during a crippling four-month strike. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Post Office on Tuesday said it needed to borrow over R1 billion to get out of debt.

Post Office representatives briefed a Parliamentary committee on its strategic plans to deal with the ongoing crisis at the state owned enterprise.

Last year it lost its entire board during a crippling four-month strike.

Parliamentarians grilled the Post Office delegation that on Tuesday presented a turnaround plan for the cash strapped entity.

Chairperson of the Telecommunications and Post Office Committee, Mmamoloko Kubayi, said it was risky to implement strategic plans without a board.

Post Office administrator Dr Simo Lushaba said the turnaround plan would allow it to pay back the borrowed money.

"We need to borrow about R1,250 billion. We have offers from the banks, in that regard we have applied to government to allow us to use the guarantee that we have."

Post Office representatives said the strategic turnaround plan was key to the recovery and sustainability of the organization.

They told Members of Parliament (MPs) that lack of leadership is the greatest problem it faces in the absence of a Board.

Lushaba told the committee that the state-owned enterprise had a strategic plan to recover from the debt it had occurred as well as from the effects last year's strike.

"At the moment we run a vacancy rate of 49 percent at general manager and above in the organisation. And therefore we have a lot of our colleagues who are doing more than one job."

Lushaba said staff morale was low at the moment and also listed other challenges including inflexible operating systems cash flow problems and poor customer focus.