The South African Post Office (SAPO) will roll-out banking products and services in 2018 as part of government’s efforts to reach the unbanked and low-end market.
The Deputy Minister for Telecommunication and Postal Services, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, disclosed this on Tuesday while presenting the Department of Telecommunication and Postal Services’ 2017/18 annual performance plan in Parliament.
“Significant progress has been made in the Postbank Corporatisation process in the 2016/2017 financial year, including the South African Post Office (SAPO) being granted authorisation to establish the Bank in terms of section 13(1) of the Banks Act by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB),” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
She added that in the 2017/18 financial year, the department’s focus will be on finalising the banking licence application process as well as facilitating the development of the Postbank service and product offerings.
“The Postbank licence is critical, as it will pave the way for the Postbank to be able provide fully-fledged banking services for the unbanked and low end market,” Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
She said the department has experienced challenges in the past in terms of achieving the targets related to broadband connectivity.
“This has largely been related to the challenges around the appointment of the broadband connectivity service provider.
The department, in collaboration with SITA (State Information Technology Agency) has issued a tender last year to procure broadband services. The tender was cancelled due to bidders not meeting the technical specification,” Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The department is currently reviewing different procurement options, which would include using the capacity of ICT State-owned companies (SOCs) to expedite the implementation, in line with the provisions of the law.
“The department has therefore in 2017/18 committed to project managing the roll out of the broadband connectivity implementation plan towards connecting 2 700 sites within the eight identified districts,” Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The department was plagued by instability largely due to vacancies at leadership level. However, with the appointment of two Deputy Directors General (DDG: SOC Oversight & DDG: Administration) in 2016 as well as the Director General, the department has steadied itself.
“All remaining DDG positions have been advertised and are in the recruitment process (DDG International Affairs, DDG Policy Development, and DDG ISAD & Research).
“The filling of the remaining DDG positions will see the department having a full leadership complement for the first time in many years,” Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said.