Sapo probes appointment of murder suspect

Monday, September 9, 2019

The South African Post Office (SAPO) has assured the public that it is committed to getting to the bottom of the circumstances that led to the appointment of the implicated employee charged with the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana.

“It is shameful for us that our name and by extension, the name of our shareholder and that of our government, are associated with such gruesome criminality,” the Post Office said in a statement.

Mrwetyana, who was studying film and media at the University of Cape Town (UCT), was allegedly raped and brutally killed late last month at Clareinch Post Office by a 42-year-old postal worker.

“The role of the Post Office in society is very important. We would like to assure all our customers and the public that this incident does not reflect our values of Batho Pele and the service that we have consistently rendered in the more 200 years of our existence,” the Post Office said.

The SA Post Office management and staff have been actively involved in assisting the police with the investigation.

“In addition to the dedicated sub-committee convened by the board to investigate the circumstances surrounding the appointment of the implicated employee, Post Office management conducted a preliminary investigation, whose findings have been shared with the Minister,” SAPO said.

The preliminary investigation and the findings confirm that the alleged perpetrator’s employment did not follow the routine SAPO recruitment process because his entry into SAPO was through a Temporary Employment Agency, otherwise referred to as Labour Brokers.

“In 2012, he, amongst other temporary staff, was absorbed into SAPO. SAPO confirms that at the time, there was no screening of these employees as they were already in the system via Labour Brokers. 

“However, when this group of employees were offered permanent part-time employment contracts in 2013, the implicated employee submitted his CV as well as qualifications and declared that he had no previous criminal convictions,” the Post Office said.

During 2016, the implicated employee was appointed into a permanent teller position. At this time, he 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. 

“When SAPO took over the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants payments in 2018, all current customer-facing and other key employees were subjected to State Security Agency (SSA) Personnel Suitability screening.

“Out of the 13 000 employees, SSA had found 300 records, 174 of which were convictions and the implicated employee was one of them. His conviction related to a 1998 carjacking conviction with an eight-year sentence, five years of which were served with three years suspended,” the Post Office said.

These findings were made available to SAPO officials in June 2018. However, the information was not disclosed to the Executive and Board.

SAPO is investigating the circumstances that led to the information not being shared with the Executive and Board.

“Currently, the results of the SSA vetting exercise are being reviewed and should any action be taken, it will follow proper due process.

“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,” the Post Office said. –