Ricochet News

SA Post Office: Operations Improving, Just Do Not Expect Your Mail Yet

By Tai Chishakwe - Nov 25, 2014
SA Post Office: Operations Improving, Just Do Not Expect Your Mail Yet

The situation at the SA Post Office is improving but do not expect to get your Christmas cards before Christmas. While striking employees of the South African Post Officebegan returning to work on Monday, officials said it will take at least 22 days to clear the national backlog of post.

Adding to this, no one has a tally of the extent of the backlog but it is believed to be considerable, given that postal workers have been on strike for close to four months.

During that time, SA Post Office property was damaged, workers who wanted to return to work were intimidated and ratepayers had to access council bills electronically.

NGOs and beneficiaries worst affected

The post office strike reportedly contributed to the loss of millions in donations, according to the South African Institute of Fundraising.

Lost parcels and other pieces of mail which were delayed by the strike denied income and support to the NGO sector amounting to around R55 million.

For example, Children’s organisations like the Cancer Charity, Leprosy Missions, SOS Children’ Village South Africa, reportedly lost around R600 000 in fundraising while the Girls and Boys Town posted support appeal letters to more than 30 000 donors which have not reached their destinations timeously. The Salvation Army lost an estimated R700 000.

"We are fast moving towards full capacity shortly. This demonstrates that our projections of returning the Sapo operations to full capacity in the near future are in sight,” Simo Lushaba, head of the intervention team appointed by Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, told eNCA on Monday.

He said about 52% of the SA Post Office had returned to work.

Lushaba said operations were improving, particularly because Tshwane Mail and Witspos were fully functional. They are the main sorting centres in Gauteng.

"Both these centres, alongside the Johannesburg International Mail Centre, have recorded 100% employee attendance this morning [Monday]," he said.

However, that is not to say everything will just go back to normal tomorrow. There is a shortfall of R400 million at the post office which is seeing a decline in business as more Post Offices are closing across the country.


The striking workers demanded implementation of the Post Office flexible labour strategy, which would convert 7945 workers into permanent employees. They also demanded a 15% wage increase but eventually settled for 6.5%.

An agreement was reached with the SA Postal and Allied Workers' Union and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union. However, a third union, the Communications Workers Union, is yet to sign.

The Communications Workers Union is expected to hold a media briefing this morning.