New post office row

UNHAPPY: The SA Post Office's new chief executive Chris Hlekane needed immediate manpower to deal with a backlog in his office. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSELO
UNHAPPY: The SA Post Office's new chief executive Chris Hlekane needed immediate manpower to deal with a backlog in his office. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSELO

THE South African Post Office has appointed a former municipal director who is facing a criminal investigation, and has been suspended by the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality for alleged corruption, to a top management position.

Miyelani Holeni, who was one of five top municipality officials who were accused of corruption over the installation of water meters amounting to millions of rands, started his new job as manager in the office of Chris Hlekane, the South African post office's (Sapo) new chief executive, two days ago.

Holeni's appointment was made as Sapo struggles to clean up its tainted image after the R425-million lease scandal that resulted in the resignation of former CEO Motshoanetse Lefoka and chief operating officer John Wentzel.

Hlekane is expected to clean up the image of the post office. However, Holeni's appointment in a position which was created recently and not even advertised, will do little to improve the Post Office's image.

Holeni was suspended in July after a recommendation from the Special Investigating Unit on corruption charges.

Holeni then resigned from his job as Ekurhuleni's director of revenue management and enhancement programme.

Ekurhuleni spokesman Sam Modiba confirmed the matter was being probed by the SIU.

SIU spokesman Boy Ndala yesterday said he could not comment as investigations into the water meter contract were still ongoing.

According to the SIU's annual report for the year 2011/2012, a criminal case would be registered regarding the contract.

When Sowetan contacted the parastatal to enquire about Holeni's appointment, the Post Office, it said they were in the process of terminating Holeni contract.

Sapo's HR executive Maphutha Diaz accused Holeni of failing to indicate during a job interview that he was facing a criminal investigation and that he had been suspended.

"Mr Hlekane is very upset by this and Sapo takes Holeni's misrepresentation of facts seriously," Diaz said.

Diaz said the position was not advertised because it was temporary and Hlekane needed immediate manpower to deal with backlog.

DA caucus leader in Ekurhuleni Shelley Loe said it was baffling that the Post Office failed to check the credentials of Holeni.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on communications Sikhumbuzo Kholwane slammed the appointment.

Communications Workers Union spokesman Matankana Mothapo said Sapo was being used for corruption.

"How do you hire and fire a person accused of corruption after two days?" he asked.

South African Postal Workers Union spokesman Tutu Mokoena said there was a public perception that Sapo CEOs were above the parastatal's policies.

"It is sad that this scandal happens when the employees were looking forward to have Hlekane lifting their morale," said Mokoena.

Sapo spokesman Khulani Qoma said Holeni resigned yesterday afternoon.

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