Uyinene Mrwetyana suspect signed declaration stating he did not have criminal record: Post Office

The Clareinch post office in Cape Town.
The Clareinch post office in Cape Town.
Image: Dan Meyer

The SA Post Office says the man charged with killing Uyinene Mrwetyana lied to them that he did not have any past criminal record.

In a statement sent to the Sunday Times in response to questions, the Post Office said their preliminary investigation found that the man’s appointment did not follow its routine recruitment process.

He has been charged with rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice, after he confessed last week to killing the 19-year-old student at the Clareinch post office. He cannot be named by order of the court.

It later emerged that the man had a criminal history.

Post Office board spokesperson Charles Nwaila confirmed that the man was not screened when he was appointed - first as a part time employee, through a labour broker, and then later as a full-time employee.

He said when the man was offered a permanent contract in 2013, he declared that he did not have any past criminal record.

“During 2016, the implicated employee was appointed into a permanent teller position. During this time he had signed another declaration confirming that he did not have any criminal record. He also affirmed an oath required by the Sapo Act committing to be honest and trustworthy, and to act in accordance with the law.”

The Sunday Times revealed on Sunday that the man was flagged by the State Security Agency in June 2018 as having a criminal record, but nothing was done about it.

“When Sapo took over the Sassa grants payments in 2018, all current customer-facing and other key employees were subjected to SSA Personnel Suitability screening. Out of the 13,000 employees, SSA had found 300 records of which 174 were convictions in which the implicated employee was one of them. His conviction related to a 1998 carjacking conviction with an 8-year sentence, of which 5 years were served with 3 years suspended,” Nwaila confirmed.

He repeated that the Post Office executive and board did not know about this until this week.

“In the event that the internal investigations reveal that there was wrongdoing by any official, proportionate action will be taken. Sapo will announce the details of any action taken, which will be informed by our internal processes,” Nwaila said.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the officials involved should face action.

She also said the other staff members who were flagged by SSA for having criminal records should be suspended pending action.

The Post Office said they have since identified a list of corrective actions that will be carried out urgently.

-See today's Sunday Times for full coverage of the investigation into post office staff .

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