The South African Post Office (SAPO) recently announced the reopening of some of the branches that were temporarily closed during extensive negotiations with the owners of their buildings. Earlier this year SAPO announced the closure of approximately 53 branches countrywide because of payment disputes.
Twenty-seven of these post office branches in seven provinces will resume normal trading from Monday, the 10th of May after their temporary closure earlier this year. SAPO said negotiations with the landlords of the branches that remain closed are continuing and that that they are expected to also resume operations, within the next few weeks, once an agreement is reached with property owners.
“Post Offices are important access points for government services such as social grants. To eliminate long waiting times, the Post Office has introduced separate queues for different transactions,” said SAPO. The parastatal added that the separate queues also serve as a way of preventing crowding and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
The branches reopening on 10 May are:
Gauteng: Aston Manor, Belle Ombre (Pretoria), Fontainebleu, Hillbrow, Kelvin, Khumalo, Leondale, Moroke, Northmead, Three Rivers
Eastern Cape: Greenfields, Motherwell, Northcrest, Schauderville
Western Cape: Edgemead, Kleinmond, Mbekweni, Melkbosstrand
KwaZulu-Natal: Esikhaleni, Gilits, Impendle, Overport
Limpopo: Enkelbult, Letsitele, Tonga
Mpumalanga: West Acres (Mbombela)
Northern Cape: Hopetown
SAPO claims that the Post Office is the most cost-effective way of delivering small international shipments and therefore it is planning to expand its role in the e-commerce sector.
“Its network of outlets is one of the reasons it is able to offer a unique service, and the organisation intends to maintain its extensive network.”
Chinese e-commerce giant, Wish, recently announced a direct partnership with SAPO, which will reportedly improve transit times up by up to 50% and allow customers to receive bundled shipments when ordering multiple items.
“This is critical to ensuring a positive customer experience and satisfaction and will enable us to better serve our customers in this market,” said Wish’s vice-president of operations, Thomas Chaung.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently backed up the post office’s right to monopolise the delivery of all packages weighing 1kg and less – except for food – in a matter that dates back to 2018.
SAPO alleged that Postnet – and by virtue other courier services – were contravening the Postal Services Act of 1998 by offering services reserved solely for SAPO. According to the Act, the post office is the country’s only licensed postal service operator and is responsible for the delivery of all letters, postcards, printed matter, small parcels and miscellaneous postal items up to 1kg.
Postnet, however, lodged an urgent interdict against ICASA’s ruling, which allows it and other companies to continue to delivering smaller packages until the matter is heard in full in court. A date for the hearing is yet to be set.