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Post Of­fice seems in­ca­pable of clear­ing chronic mail back­log

The CEO of the South African Post Of­fice, Mark Barnes, was in­ter­viewed on SAfm on Septem­ber 28 con­cern­ing the chronic back­log of un­de­liv­ered over­seas mail at the Jo­han­nes­burg In­ter­na­tional Mail Cen­tre (JIMC).

For a CEO pur­ported to earn an an­nual salary of R4.2m, his re­sponse was com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.

He did not dis­pute the fact that de­lays of four to six months in our mail de­liv­ery are now com­mon­place. All he could say is that the ar­rival of over­seas mail through OR Tambo air­port is 2.5-mil­lion items a day and that the JIMC is clear­ing “about 4-mil­lion items per day”.

He then ac­knowl­edged that the tra­di­tional Christ­mas over­load is only two months away but of­fered no plan to avoid a melt­down at the JIMC.

In the pri­vate sec­tor, this mis­er­able per­for­mance would be viewed as a mas­sive cor­po­rate fail­ure and res­cue tar­gets would be set. Why is this not hap­pen­ing at the JIMC?

Pro­duc­tive mail sort­ing is a crit­i­cal in­te­gra­tion of labour-in­ten­sive func­tions and mech­a­ni­sa­tion. Barnes did not men­tion labour re­la­tions, but it would be a huge mis­take to un­der­es­ti­mate the po­ten­tial con­tri­bu­tion of his staff if prop­erly mo­ti­vated.

Cer­tainly if the work­force were given at­trac­tive in­cen­tive tar­gets their pro­duc­tiv­ity would im­prove and the mail back­log would evap­o­rate.

As con­sumers, we must not ac­cept this most de­press­ing fore­cast from Barnes. Mil­lions of South Africans still de­pend on the prompt ar­rival of crit­i­cal doc­u­ments for con­fir­ma­tion of job ac­cep­tance, pen­sions el­i­gi­bil­ity, voter reg­is­tra­tion and fi­nan­cial cred­i­bil­ity, which are now in jeop­ardy.

Ur­gent res­cue ac­tion is re­quired now, and the fi­nan­cial rat­ings agen­cies are watch­ing.

M John­son, Hill­crest

An­other so­cial­ist pipe dream

Si­fiso Sken­jana’s col­umn “Ris­ing poverty brings ur­gency to univer­sal ba­sic in­come de­bate” (Septem­ber 30) refers. Oh, good. An­other so­cial­ist dream that prom­ises to cure all ills. Be­cause we don’t have enough of those al­ready.

So let’s see ... at a min­i­mum of R1,000 monthly, if we add the eco­nom­i­cally in­ac­tive to the labour force, that’s 37-mil­lion peo­ple. Or about R440bn a year. Which we are go­ing to get from where ex­actly? David de Beer, on Busi­nesslive

No progress with­out ed­u­ca­tion

An econ­omy can’t be a magic wand, un­less peo­ple are well-skilled and trained to of­fer their crafts­man­ship, pro­fes­sional ser­vices and prod­ucts. Only peo­ple can make an econ­omy pros­per. Blindly hop­ing things will turn out well is a neb­u­lous dream.

SA needs func­tional schools and vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tres to equip the youth with much-needed trade skills. With­out them, how are we go­ing to build our econ­omy?

It’s un­for­tu­nate that our schools, par­tic­u­larly those cater­ing mostly for African chil­dren, have been ren­dered dys­func­tional by a politi­cised teach­ers’ union.

The cur­rent set-up is not sus­tain­able. With­out gen­uine in­ter­ven­tions, there’s likely to be an im­plo­sion that will ad­versely af­fect us all, ir­re­spec­tive of so­cial sta­tus. Sithem­biso Malusi Mahlaba, Vry­heid

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