No petrol, so no post

2015-08-13 22:49
Groundcover factory manager Don Tully and Liza Christie have their hands full with orders that they are unable to send.

Groundcover factory manager Don Tully and Liza Christie have their hands full with orders that they are unable to send. (Ian Carbutt)

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WITH the South African Post Office (Sapo) unable to send out deliveries due to alleged “logistics issues” businesses around KwaZulu-Natal are bearing the brunt.

South African Postal Workers’ Union secretary-general David Mangena said members of the union had told him that the post office had been unable to pay their bills and their fuel account had been frozen. “I was told by the post office employees that there was no money for fuel so our members are unable to make their deliveries.”

He added that his members had expressed frustration over not being able to do their jobs properly and feared they may be told to stay at home while the head office worked on the issue.

Local handcrafted leather company Groundcover in Curry’s Post said the Howick post office had told them not to bring in any more parcels because they were unable to deliver them.

Groundcover owner Amanda McCarthy said their company often used the post office to deliver their handmade shoes nationally and internationally, but was told yesterday that their parcels would not leave as the post office’s fuel account had been frozen. “The Howick post office told us they were unsure of when the issue would be resolved and could not say when the parcels would be sent off.

“I think the Howick post office is getting a lot of flak from businesses and residents but I understand it to be an issue at the head office.”

She said the business was worried about how this would affect the relationship they had with their customers, especially with their international clients.

“We have to try and explain this issue to our international customers, which could prove tricky as they are unaware of the difficulties we experience here.”

The Witness did a snap survey of post offices in and around Pietermaritzburg, and found all gave similar answers on the “logistics issue” and when it might be solved.

Hilton post office told customers they had been told there had been a problem in the transport section of the post office but did not know more than that.

Willowton told customers to not even come in as they had no idea when the parcels would be sent out. “We have been telling customers to go to PostNet if they need parcels delivered urgently. We have been getting a lot of flak over this issue but we don’t know much.”

Liberty Midlands Mall post office were unable to deliver parcels and suggested to customers that they wait until the issue is resolved before using their services, however, they were unsure when the matter would be rectified.

Luxmi post office in Raisethorpe also asked their customers to hold off on posting parcels until head office had sorted the issue out.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business director Melanie Veness said yesterday the SA Post Office was not being able to deliver mail because they can’t fill their vehicles up with fuel is completely indefensible. “The impact that this has on the economy is far reaching, creating yet another hurdle for the business sector. The citizens of this country deserve to see some accountability for the flagrant and continued mismanagement of our state resources, because the resultant burden is ours to bear.”

SA Post Office acting CEO Mlu Mathonsi said yesterday that customers could expect temporary sporadic delays in mail conveyance in some areas, owing to “fleet management operational challenges” which are impacting mail in transit. “Customers are assured that the operational challenges causing these delays are short-lived and all efforts are underway to return operations to normality.

“We request customers’ understanding while we are resolving the cause of the operational challenges in this regard.

“We advise customers to liaise with branch management or the SA Post ­Office national call centre on 086 011 1502 in instances where there are urgent deliveries, or any mail and parcel delivery related enquiries,” he said

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