Matsepe-Casaburri removes Post Office chief from board

South African Post Office (Sapo) chief executive Khutso Mampeule was ”removed” from the Sapo board on Monday by Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

Mampeule’s future as chief executive is now in the hands of the Sapo board.

Following a special Sapo shareholders’ meeting earlier on Monday, the minister ”resolved to remove Mr Mampeule from the [Sapo] board”, her ministry said in a statement.

The meeting — at which Mampeule made oral submissions — was called to consider his removal, it said.

The ministry said Mampeule’s sacking was the result of a loss of confidence in him by the minister, as well as a ”breakdown of trust between the board and Mr Mampeule as a result of his failure to provide [it] with relevant, appropriate and accurate information regarding the work of the Post Office”.

At the end of last month, the Pretoria High Court ordered the minister to allow Mampeule access to a report into governance problems at the Post Office. The report was to be discussed at Monday’s shareholders’ meeting.

The report was compiled by an auditing firm after the minister suspended Mampeule for allegedly ”undermining the authority of the board”. She received the report in March, after which she told the Post Office board that she intended removing Mampeule.

Mampeule asked for the full report to prepare for the meeting, but was denied it by Matsepe-Casaburri, who said it was ”confidential”. He successfully applied to the Pretoria High Court, asking that he be given the full report as well as sufficient time to prepare for the meeting.

The minister represents the government, which is the sole shareholder in the Post Office.

‘Mr Clean’

The Mail & Guardian reported at the end of March this year that Matsepe-Casaburri had moved to remove Mampeule, dubbed ”Mr Clean” for his robust campaign against procurement sleaze.

Mampeule’s cancellation of contracts at the parastatal, among them a controversial R100-million deal to revamp branches, earned him powerful enemies and soured relations with his board.

The board suspended Mampeule in November pending a forensic investigation into corporate governance and management issues.

It was the outcome of this investigation, conducted by auditors SizweNtsaluba VSP, that was cited by Matsepe-Casaburri as she rounded on Mampeule.

Mampeule said in a statement at the time that the findings, as conveyed, ”neither reflect a balanced view nor the reality of events and facts, including some in respect of which I have already been exonerated”. He said he intended to cooperate with the envisaged disciplinary process and believed ”a fair and independent judge will clear me of all allegations”.

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