Mark Barnes. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Mark Barnes. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

NEWLY appointed South African Post Office CEO Mark Barnes will update Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services on the state of the troubled institution on Tuesday.

This comes as Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is due to release a report on her probe into the Post Office.

The parastatal has been dogged by work stoppages, debt, declining revenues and a series of operational crises. Mr Barnes took up his post in mid-January, having asked to be given the job.

The former banker has previously told Business Day there is huge potential to grow the post office and vastly increase its revenue base by using its network of branches to offer a wide range of services and make it less reliant on mail delivery.

According to Mr Barnes, the country’s Post Office could embrace e-commerce, become an investment facility and a delivery agent of chronic medicines, educational materials and social grants, as well as develop computer service centres that would serve local communities.

Also on Tuesday, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will brief the portfolio committee on trade and industry on President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address, on issues pertaining to trade.

On Wednesday, officials from the Department of Trade and Industry will brief the portfolio committee on the newly established Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Commission.

On Wednesday, attention will shift to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech, his first since returning to Treasury at the end of last year after the controversial "Nenegate".

Also on Wednesday, the Electoral Commission (IEC) will oversee by-elections in the controversial Tlokwe municipality.

This will be a rerun of the elections following the Constitutional Court’s finding last year that the 2013 by-elections in seven wards could not be considered free or fair.

The High Court in Pretoria will hear a challenge from the Free Market Foundation on Monday morning against the Labour Relations Act. The move pits it against the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which sees the challenge as an attack on organised labour.

The foundation has waited nearly three years for the court case to get under way.

It says the extension of collective agreements to nonparties would be the first in a series of regulatory battles against economic distortion.

Former foundation chairman and Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, is bankrolling the legal challenge.