South Africa: Post Office On Internal Investigation Relating Murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana

press release

SA Post Office statement on internal investigation relating to the Clareinch Post Office incident involving the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana

The Post Office (SAPO) wishes to assure the SA 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 the late Ms Uyinene Mrwetyana.

From the moment the police made contact with us in relation to their leads that Uyinene was last seen going to the Post Office, the SA Post Office management and staff have been actively involved in assisting with the investigation.

The Clareinch Post Office was closed for business to allow the police forensic investigation teams to conduct their work unhindered.

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

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.

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.

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 13000 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 years sentence, of which 5 years were served with 3 years suspended.

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 been shared with the Executive and Board. Currently the results of the SSA vetting exercise are been 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.

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.

Consequently, on the basis of the findings of the preliminary report, we have identified a list corrective actions that will be carried out urgently.

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.

Attribute all comments extracted herein to:

Dr Charles Nwaila, SAPO Board Member.

Issued by: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services

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