27 post office branches reopen
THE reopening of 27 South African Post Office (Sapo) branches across South Africa might bring joy to customers who use the post office for a number of services.
These post offices are situated in Gauteng (10), the Eastern Cape (4), Western Cape (4), Kwazulu-natal (4), Limpopo (3), Mpumalanga (1) and Northern Cape (1).
The KZN post office branches are situated in Esikhaleni, Gillitts, Impendle and Overport.
These were temporarily closed following negotiations with landlords.
Spokesperson Johan Kruger said the branches were reopened yesterday and would operate normally.
“Customers are therefore welcome to visit these post offices for collecting parcels, paying car licences or doing other postal transactions,” said Kruger.
He said that negotiations would continue with property owners of the few remaining post offices that were closed and these would reopen as soon as an agreement had been reached, which was expected to be within the next few weeks.
Black Sash regional manager Evashnee Naidu said they welcomed the reopening of the post offices because it was an issue of serious concern that impacted beneficiaries, particularly those receiving the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
Naidu said beneficiaries affected by the closure of post offices had to travel at great cost to other areas in order to access their grants.
Owing to the poor communication to SRD grant beneficiaries, this had sometimes meant multiple trips in order to draw the grant.
“The opening of at least four additional sites will ease the financial and stress burden on beneficiaries,” said Naidu.
“We also hope that this will see an increase in the footprint of post offices in other areas to reduce the strain on ordinary grant pay-day beneficiaries who also have to travel great distances, at their own cost, to draw their grants if there are no post offices in their area.”
Not so long ago, post offices started to disappear in the Durban area as Sapo shut down branches to cut costs.
However, Sapo said the branches were not being closed but were being amalgamated. It was done to minimise the potential inconvenience to long-standing customers used to a specific branch.
Meanwhile, there have been violent post office robberies across the country in recent months.
In KZN, there was a spate of such robberies, with post offices in Hammarsdale, emanzimtoti and othongathi all robbed in the space of a week, with undisclosed amounts of cash stolen at each branch.
After a burglary at the Greyville post office in October 2020, Sapo said it was in the process of upgrading security at all outlets, having upgraded high-risk branches first. That had been effective.