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South African Postbank Bill Heading for Parliament

April 8, 2022

Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

The Draft South African Postbank Amendment Bill is heading for parliament.

The communications and digital technologies department published the draft bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 46204.

The draft bill was published for comment in March 2021.

The draft bill provides for the amendment of the shareholding arrangements for the Postbank through the setting up of a new holding company to facilitate its establishment and registration as a Bank Controlling Company (BCC) in terms of the Banks Act.

The draft bill aims to amend the South African Postbank Limited Act, 2010, so as to:

• provide for the incorporation of the Postbank Division of the South African Post Office;
• provide for the transfer of the enterprise of that Division to the Postbank company;
• provide for the governance and functions of the Postbank company;
• provide for the establishment and shareholding arrangements for the South African Postbank SOC Limited through the creation of a bank controlling company in terms of the Banks Act, 1990; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The draft bill proposes that the communications and digital technologies minister must apply to register the BCC in accordance with section 43 of the Banks Act.

The BCC will focus on compliance, risk management and governance functions.

It shall exercise oversight over the bank, ensuring that the bank operating company exercises sound risk management and governance practices, in line with South African Reserve Bank requirements as provided for in the Banks Act and its regulations.

The draft bill stipulates that the Board of the BCC shall be the same as the one serving on the Company.

The Board shall also accept responsibility to ensure that risks are adequately identified, measured, managed and monitored and that good governance is maintained.

The Board will discharge its duty through policies and frameworks supported by Board committees.

According to the explanatory summary, the proposed legislation aims to amend the shareholding arrangements for the Postbank by transferring shareholding from the South African Post Office (SAPO) to the government through the creation of a new bank controlling company.

Cabinet approved the draft bill in March 2022 for tabling in parliament.

In a statement, cabinet pointed out that, once adopted into law, the Postbank will be able to operate as a separate entity with its regulatory framework outside of the SAPO.

The draft bill will be tabled in parliament soon.

Meanwhile, in a recent briefing to the national council of provinces on its revised Annual Performance Plan for 2021/22, the department indicated that the business case for the Draft Regulatory Reform Bill and Draft Electronic Communication Bill has been put on hold given the new direction the department has to take on the matter and subject to further clarity on the direction on the Electronic Communication Act (ECA) such as absorbing the ECA in the Draft Digital Transformation Bill or undertaking a comprehensive review of the ECA.

With regards to the Draft South African Postbank Amendment Bill, the department pointed out that it focused on the SAPO Turn Around Strategy designed to inform the strategic repositioning of SAPO, following the separation from Postbank.

The department confirmed that a SAPO Strategy of Tomorrow has been drawn up.