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Post office has no money for fuel

150714. Cape Town. Claremont Post Office inside STADIUM ON MAIN. The Post Office, according to a notice against the window, has been closed temporarily due to unforseen circumstances. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

150714. Cape Town. Claremont Post Office inside STADIUM ON MAIN. The Post Office, according to a notice against the window, has been closed temporarily due to unforseen circumstances. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Published Aug 13, 2015

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Durban - The South African Post Office is in crisis again. This time, the parastatal has allegedly told local branches that no mail would be received or collected. Apparently there were financial problems with its transportation system, and the post office had no money for fuel.

Although the branches were continuing with daily operations, some cautioned customers that if they posted their mail with them, there was a chance it would not reach the person intended on time.

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Businesses and distance learning institutions were among the worst affected.

When The Mercury spoke to a communications officer at the post office on Tuesday, they asked for questions to be e-mailed to them. On Wednesday they said they were waiting for sign-off of the response. By the time The Mercury published, they had not responded.

Tshepang Mahlangu, who owns a marketing and distribution company, said he was in trouble with some of his customers as orders were not being delivered.

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“I have four clients who use speed service for delivery but now we have problems. The delivery time is supposed to be 48 hours but lately it has taken about two weeks.”

He said they had been told that there were no vehicles available to deliver mail.

The Mercury visited four Durban branches and found that they were open, but some workers warned customers of the possibility that their mail would not be collected on time.

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At Avondale Post Office in Morningside, a teller said they had received a message from the national office and had been told not to take any more mail.

“They said there won’t be a vehicle to transport the stuff. Apparently the problem is with fuel,” he said.

The teller advised that if customers had urgent parcels, they should rather use private couriers.

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At the Durban Post Office at the corner of Dr Pixley kaSeme (West) and Dorothy Nyembe (Gardiner) streets, operations were normal. A worker said they knew of the problem, but there had been no hiccups at their branch.

At Greyville Post Office, the teller said they were taking mail and parcels but could not give guarantees that they would be collected.

Dalbridge Post Office staff warned customers that they should expect delays.

Durban Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dumile Cele said when the postal service was not up to scratch it caused havoc in the business fraternity .

“Businesses have to send invoices, letters of demands, and statements to consumers but if that cannot happen it is a problem. The collection of debts is dependent on the efficiency of the post office. Courier service is also needed.

“It’s affected the services and the whole wellbeing of companies,” she said.

Cele said the SA Post Office had recently come to the chamber and presented a turnaround strategy.

“I do believe that they will improve but we must understand that it will take a bit of time,” she said.

The Mercury

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