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Post Office working hard to settle massive debt

Sapo owes about R245 million to more than 2,000 creditors.

FILE: The Benmore Gardens post office in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Post Office (Sapo) said it's working on settling its debt and getting back some of its customers.

This week, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele revealed that the Sapo owes about R245 million to more than 2,000 creditors.

The parastatals financial woes have led to 25 branches closing their doors countrywide because they were late on rent payments.

Post office spokesperson Martie Gilchrist said the organisation is trying to get back on its feet.

"We're working very hard to get ourselves back on track but this could take a little while. With the industrial action we've also lost customers, so it's now trying to convince them to come back to us because we're not making as much as we used."

In May, Sapo said it needed to borrow over R1 billion to get out of debt.

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

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 R1,25 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 organisation.

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