Repairs under way to 51 looted post offices, says Minister Ntshavheni
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COMMUNICATIONS and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has said procurement processes were under way for the repair of 51 post offices that were vandalised during the July unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Ntshavheni revealed this when responding to parliamentary questions on the number of post offices that were affected by the looting and vandalism, and progress in the recovery plan.
Ntshavheni said 77 post offices were vandalised and during the unrest in the two provinces.
She said eight of the buildings are owned by the SA Post Office (Sapo) and 69 others are rented premises.
Ntshaveni said not all the post offices were totally destroyed, and damage to them varied from minor to major.
She said 26 post offices had since resumed normal and full operations - nine branches in Gauteng and 17 in KwaZulu-Natal - and that procurement processes for the repairs of the 51 post offices were under way.
In a separate set of questions, Ntshavheni said they had ensured that the branches that were looted were assessed and where minimal damage existed, operations continued.
ANC MP Boyce Maneli asked about measures to ensure that services continue to be rendered even in branches that were heavily affected by the July unrest.
Maneli also asked about plans to ensure that pension grants were delivered easily at the post offices.
In her response, Ntshavheni said where there was more serious damage, clients have been advised of the nearest branch where services could be obtained.
“In some instances, additional cash paypoints have been arranged to accommodate social grant beneficiaries where no alternative facilities are available.
“This is in addition to the option to use automated teller machines,” she said.
Ntshavheni also said Sapo together with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) have developed a system whereby beneficiaries of the R350 social relief grant were paid on specific days of the week according to the last three digits of their identity document number, to reduce the number of beneficiaries in queues.
Meanwhile, the minister said in response to questions from DA MP Alf Lees that health protocols to reduce the spread of Covid-19 were being adhered to.
Ntshavheni said queue marshals have been deployed at all outlets to ensure that customers complied with Covid-19 personal health safety measures.
“During high demand periods like pension payout days, it is often difficult to ensure clients outside post offices comply with personal health safety measures.
“However, assistance is often sought from the SAPS and Sassa volunteers,” she said.
The minister added that dedicated queues have been introduced to separate clients in accordance the services they required.
“The problems are with large crowds outside the post offices during the social grant collection dates and a more effective mechanism to address this is being evaluated.”