DURBAN - THE popular Hyper by the Sea Post Office had its last day of trading yesterday as its lease expires at the end of November.
The post office, at the Pick n Pay Hyper in Durban North, is among 29 branches that were closed in KwaZulu-Natal this year.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, Johan Kruger, the spokesperson for the South African Post Office (Sapo), said 29 branches had to close this year for various reasons, among them the unrest in July, termination of lease contracts and rationalisation of its network.
“No employees lose their jobs; the employees and equipment are all deployed in nearby branches,” he said.
Kruger said the last day of trading for the Hyper by the Sea Post Office was November 23. The lease on the premises expired at the end of the month.
“The branch will be closing at the end of November and customers were notified with a letter in their postboxes. Operations have moved to the Durban North branch,” he said.
The Durban North Post Office offers car licence renewals and other nearby post offices are Durban Central, Redhill and Phoenix, added Kruger.
Durban North ward councillor Shontel de Boer said it was a pity that the branch was closing as residents who had been visiting it for many years were dependent on its services.
“I have been receiving hundreds of complaints on Facebook, WhatsApp, on email and people calling me about it, and it's just unfortunate that, at the end of the day, it’s the community that suffers the most with the closure,” she said.
She said that with long queues for motor vehicle licence renewals, the closure would negatively affect residents.
“It negatively affects lots of people in the north, all the way from Riverside Road, all the way up to uMhlanga, who have been dependent on that post office to do whatever they’ve been required to do.”
De Boer said the Durban North Post Office, which was the only other branch available in the area, had deteriorated dramatically.
She said people have been queuing for the R350 grants, some of them sleeping there overnight, and there were vagrants occupying the area, among other issues.
De Boer said the Redhill Post Office was in a worse condition.
“There is trash, illegal vendors at the side of the road.
“People are defecating and urinating all over the place, so it doesn’t really leave much for the Durban North community.”
Vanessa Knight, the chairperson of the Durban North Residents Association, said residents were not taking the news of the closure well.
She said Sapo had not informed residents where they could go to renew their driver’s licences once the Hyper by the Sea branch closed.
“It's absolutely nonsensical, it was the perfect place to go… The queues that were at Hyper were so long which should say to you that it is well used. I understand if it wasn't being used. Why shut down something that is at capacity and move it to another place that’s already at capacity,” said Knight.