Post Office reopens branches after making deals with landlords following rent defaults

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A number of post offices in seven provinces resumed operations on Monday.
A number of post offices in seven provinces resumed operations on Monday.
Misha Jordaan

The SA Post Office (SAPO) - which is battling financial challenges which have been worsened by the lockdown - says it has reopened most branches that were temporarily closed.

A number of post offices in seven provinces resumed operations on Monday, while talks were under way with the landlords of the remaining branches that were still not operational.

"Negotiations continue with landlords of the remaining few post offices that are closed; they will reopen as soon as agreement is reached with property owners,"  according to the company.

The state-owned service provider expects negotiations to be concluded within the next few weeks.

In March, employees at some branches were unable to report for duty as landlords locked the premises owing to unpaid rentals. National Treasury in September revealed that SAPO was in dire financial straits and had requested additional financial support of R4.9 billion to cushion it from the effects of Covid-19.

Treasury's chief director of sector oversight, Ravesh Rajlal, had told Parliament that the Post Office had not achieved its financial-sustainability targets for the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the effects of the pandemic.

A net loss of R2.1 billion is projected for the year, compared to the initial budget's projected loss of R177 million.

Treasury wants SAPO to be restructured in a bid to prevent further financial losses and increasing reliance on the state for funding. 

In October, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the unbundling of the Postbank from SAPO was being considered at Cabinet level with only one pending amendment.

The Post Office plays a key role in the distribution of social grants and operates a banking division. Other services provided include vehicle licence renewals and other payment systems.

The Post Office recently launched a renewed legal bid to bar other companies from delivering parcels weighing 1kg and under.

The following post office branches will reopen:

  • Gauteng: Aston Manor; Belle Ombre, Pretoria; Fontainebleau; Hillbrow; Kelvin; Khumalo; Leondale; Moroke; Northmead; and Three Rivers.
  • Eastern Cape: Greenfields; Motherwell; Northcrest; and Schauderville.
  • Western Cape: Edgemead; Kleinmond; Mbekweni; and Melkbosstrand.
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Esikhaleni; Gillits; Impendle; and Overport.
  • Limpopo: Enkelbult; Letsitele; and Tonga.
  • Mpumalanga: West Acres; Mbombela.
  • Northern Cape: Hopetown.

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