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Postbank chair, board members resign with immediate effect: Leaked letter

Board members resigned citing hostility from communications and digital technology minister Mondli Gungubele. File photo.
Board members resigned citing hostility from communications and digital technology minister Mondli Gungubele. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

Postbank's chairperson Thabile Wonci and several board members have resigned with immediate effect, citing the severity and recurring nature of negative treatment and hostility suffered at the hands of communications minister Mondli Gungubele. 

This is according to a scathing leaked letter dated September 12 shared on X (formerly Twitter), addressed to Gungubele. The letter could not be independently verified at the time of publication, nor could the chairperson and board members be reached for comment.

Gungubele and minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu are on Thursday due to host a briefing about delayed payments to thousands of social grants recipients since Tuesday last week. They are expected to “provide an overview of the causes of the system outage and outline measures by both Sassa and Postbank to prevent similar events from recurring in the future”.

In the leaked letter, the chairperson and board members shared their frustration.

“As the chairperson, together with the board, we have had the utmost privilege of leading the bank with fidelity, honesty, due diligence and with duty of care and skills, often times working beyond the call of duty to ensure that the bank is able to execute its mandate,” the letter states.

Acknowledging setbacks at the entity, they say this is an “intrinsic part of any institution's journey” but the hostility that the board suffered at the hands of the minister sought to undermine the credibility of Postbank and their individual responsibility.

“This was particularly painful as we did everything in our power to manage and ameliorate consequent risk to the bank and hardship that would ultimately be suffered by the most vulnerable stakeholders of the bank, especially grant recipients.”

The resignation comes as the company is dealing with technical glitches that affected some of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries from accessing their funds.

They said that over the past two years, they have dedicated their time, energy and efforts towards serving the bank and always working in the best interests of the bank and its stakeholders. 

“However, recent events and unfortunate circumstances between the minister and the board have compelled us to make this difficult decision. There is absolutely no self-respecting board that can perform any meaningful work with the level of external interference, undue pressure and influence that our board has endured over the past couple of months. This obviously has deeply disturbed us.

 “We cannot, in good conscience, continue to be associated with an institution whose Board continues to be undermined and disrespected.” 

TimesLIVE

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