I personally visited the Wierda Park Post Office a month ago. Informal traders are occupying and selling goods from the post box section, which is unlocked and vandalised with vagrants sleeping, urinating and defecating in the area. This is where the customers collect their post. A section of the palisade fencing at the back leading to the taxi holding area has been broken, allowing unfettered access to the post box area. In the darkness one can't begin to imagine the terror of a defenceless person dragged into an area like this. It is only a matter of time until something like this happens again. Let us not forget the tragic murder of the young woman at the Clareinch Post Office and out of respect for her family, I won't use her name here.
The committee was assured that the SA Post Office, Sapo, was taking firm steps to address the issue of customer and staff security and securing the facilities so that this would not happen again. However, the evidence on the ground suggests that this is not so and this is no way to build trust between the SA Post Office and its
public or between the department, the Minister and us Members of Parliament, MPs.
The first quarter report shows that Sapo has only met six of its 12 targets with an acting chief executive officer, CEO, and an acting chief financial officer, CFO. This fears to be absurd and, unfortunately, the rather exceptional Mark Barnes has left and he really started to turn things around. The proposed removal from the Postbank from the post office group will disembowel the entity and leave it broken and useless. The rationale behind this move remain shrouded in secrecy as is the appointment of a brand new board and a proposed new business model for Sapo. What is worse is that we are now told that Sapo will not be profitable as Mr Barnes had planned by 2020.
Let me say this clearly, we believe that was Sapo was on the right track and supported government's efforts to stabilise and turn this entity around. Now, there is another game going on here and we will not be part of this. In summary, the DA will not support any further bailouts on Sapo, not one cent. The committee recommends that the separation of Sapo and the Postbank does not financially compromise the Sapo. Please follow these recommendations. If there is a high spot in this first quarter report it is the department's activities
in the international arena where the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, World Radio Conference 2019 and the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brics, Ministerial meeting in South Africa proudly punches well in and above its weight. The department and its officials are to be congratulated for flying our flag so proudly here.
The welcome merge of the two departments lead to the quick policy directive from the Minister to Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa, to release the spectrum - a spectrum that should have been released almost 15 years ago. It was therefore very welcome when Icasa published its information memorandum on the spectrum release, setting out possible spectrum blocks for auction. Among these blocks are 700 and 800 megahertz bands, currently occupied by the broadcaster for analogue transmissions that were supposed to end in 2015. Yet Icasa's latest information memorandum on spectrum offer spectrum to network operators who will open their networks to mobile network operators that have more than 51% black shareholding - that is that business model, well and good, but it doesn't say how much they will pay for this access. Then there is also a set-aside of a very valuable spectrum for the new Huawei, a company intended to be used as a vehicle for the black economic empowerment and transformation of the sector - well and good.
The new mobile network operators that are accessing the existing networks will be competing with the new Huawei also owned as the transformation ... so, two transformation vehicles will be competing against each other. That is a smash. Clearly, this hasn't been thought through properly and we trust the industry and stakeholders will use the time until the end of January to help Icasa craft a comprehensive, fair and effective spectrum auction process. The cost of innumerable delays in releasing spectrum is yet to be quantified, but you are moving in the right direction and for that both Icasa and the department need to be acknowledged. That said, we don't believe this department overall is efficient, effective or even capable driving the vehicle fast enough and to meet the objectives of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that the ruling party is so fond of talking about. The DA does not support this Report. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.]