Four months later, in a closed parliamentary meeting in March, the entity said its immediate cash flow requirements totalled R6.9bn. An extra R2.4bn would be required to settle Postbank liabilities.
But days later, responding to MPs’ questions in the National Assembly, minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said they needed R1.6bn over two years and that was what the minister of finance was considering.
On Tuesday, Sapo CEO Nomkhita Mona said they need the wherewithal to start. “We need two things — we need time and some funding,” she said. “And when we say some funding, we are actually looking for funding so that we can service ... so we can be able to catch up on where we are now.
“The main thing we are looking for funding for, is to implement this new exciting Post Office of Tomorrow strategy and we believe that if we are able to do all the initiatives we put on there, we will never have to come back to government to look for funding again,” said Mona.
She warned that Sapo having been on a downward spiral for more than seven years, was not going to turn around immediately. But she was confident in the latest turnaround strategy would work.
The acting director-general of communications Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani was bold enough to put a time frame to when the change will come.
“We have come up with an option and a solution that is going to look at the rescue and the business basically coming out of that within 18 months,” she said. “That is from the beginning of this financial year (April 2022) and we would like to beg the indulgence of the portfolio committee to work with us on this journey.”
She said while one of the interventions they are implementing is cutting down on operational expenses, retrenchments were not an option due to the current economic climate.
Sapo suffered losses in the year under review (2020/21), only managing revenue of R2.9bn for the year ending March 31 2021, a decline of R1.2bn compared to the R4.1bn they made in 2020.
Postal services (R1.6bn) were the main reason for the revenue decline, down from R2.8bn in the year that ended in March 2020.
The company’s loss for the year increased by R469m to R2.3bn.
At R1.4bn, the financial services revenue increased by R135m (11%). It was R1.2bn in the preceding financial year and Sapo’s operating costs of R6.2bn reduced by R370m (6%) in comparison with the R6.5bn the previous year.
Staff costs reduced by R180m (5%) to R3.7bn. These contribute 61% of operating costs.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.