Many South Africans talk a good game, and that includes South African Post Office (SAPO) CEO Mark Barnes.
Since he took over, he hasn’t shied away from outlining just how much of a mess the Post Office is in, and 2018 was nothing less than a torrid year.
A mail backlog starting in May ground proceedings to a halt, caused by the Post Office’s failure to pay their logistics transport providers in April, and there was a 400% increase in international mail volumes, for which they were woefully unprepared.
Bear in mind that there are companies that can get a product shipped from overseas, through customs, and to your door in three to five working days, before you consider sympathising with the international mail volume gripe.
Despite this, Barnes stated that SAPO had cleared the backlog in November, and it was going to be a fresh start heading into 2019.
MyBroadband decided to put these claims to the test (you might remember their “slower than the Roman Empire” test), sending four letters through the SA Post Office’s standard delivery system.
The letters, sent from a post office in Centurion, Pretoria, on January 25, were headed to addresses in Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and East London.
It’s safe to say the results weren’t stellar:
According to the SA Post Office’s licence conditions, which are set by ICASA, it needs to deliver 92% of all ordinary mail within five days.
On its website, the Post Office also offers the following delivery guidelines:
- Letters generally take two days within the same town or city to reach their destination.
- Three days between two cities in the same province.
- Four days between cities in different provinces.
After 11 days – over twice the time stipulated in the Post Office’s guidelines – none of the four letters we sent had reached their destination.
This shows that the SA Post Office is not living up to its licence conditions or its promise of delivering on time.
I don’t know who is still sending actual snail mail – how quaint – but a functioning post office is something that every country deserves, and ultimately needs.
Spare a thought for those sending parcels overseas, too. I’d recommend you get those Christmas cards sent now to be safe.
Here’s an aptly-named commenter with a familiar gripe:
We feel you, GOB.
Ultimately, we’re all looking at ways to ensure what we want arrives at our door when we want it. We don’t have suggestions for letter senders, but we can advise you on how to cut out all dealings with South African bureaucracy with regards to getting the goods you order overseas into the country.
With Postbox Courier, you can order anything from just about anywhere in the world, and have it delivered to your door within three to five days.
They offer a superb service that gives you a shipping address in the US, UK, Australia and Hong Kong. So, if you’re buying products that don’t ship to SA, then just give your new US / UK / AUS / HK address, which Postbox Courier give you.
As soon as it is delivered there, which is usually the same day, then Postbox Courier will grab it and deliver it to your door in SA.
They handle your parcel every step of the way – meaning it doesn’t get “stuck” at Customs here in SA, and they also make sure you don’t get stung with some absurd customs duty payment that you can’t query.
Setting up an account with Postbox Courier is free, and there are no subscription fees, because it’s a simple Pay As You Go service.
Three to five days from destinations dotted around the globe, but SAPO can’t get a letter from Pretoria to Cape Town in 11 days?
Somebody is dropping the ball here.
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