Row over bill as post office goes weeks without power

2016-07-13 11:30

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Pietermaritzburg - The Mooi River post office has been operating without electricity for over five weeks.

This means no over-the-counter transactions are being provided there.

Users of the post office have been forced to travel to one of the two alternative post office outlets in the area — the Nottingham Road post office 17 km away or the Estcourt post office, which is 25 km away.

An employee at the post office not authorised to speak to the media described the past five weeks as emotionally draining.

“Our customers have to travel a distance of about 20 km to buy simple things such as stamps and prepaid envelopes.

“All we do is accept and sort out mail. We are trying our level best to help the users of the post office, but without the electricity, we can only do that much,” said the employee.

In June, Mpofana Municipality cut off the electricity supply to the Mooi River Centre where the post office is located, due to the non-payment of the outstanding electricity bill.

There is confusion as to whether the landlord is responsible for paying the bill or if the SA Post Office (Sapo) has to settle the bill as other tenants in the building have prepaid meters and pay for their own electricity.

Sapo’s Bongani Mgoza said the landlord was to blame for the electricity supply being cut off.

“The SA Post Office is the only tenant in the Mooi River centre without prepaid electricity. The landlord has been recovering the electricity costs through rental payments.

“The landlord is responsible for the electricity payments to the municipality which covers the post office floor space as well as all common areas such as lighting in passages, toilets and parking areas,” he said.

Mgoza said the SA Post Office was in “urgent” discussions with the landlord and the municipality to install prepaid meters to the post office to restore the power.

A source close to the story said it would take a long time to install the prepaid meter.

“Mail delivery in the area is not affected, but unfortunately over-the-counter transactions are not available. The SA Post Office apologises to its customers for the inconvenience,” said Mgoza.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  electricity  |  post office

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