Post office set to close


The N1 City Mall post office will close permanently at the end of April, because the lease will not be renewed.

The branch was closed for a few days in November last year due to unpaid rent (“Rent arrears shut N1 City post office,” November 25).

Last year, the SA Post Office was placed under administration after a three-month nation-wide strike by workers demanding a 10 percent salary increase.

Post Office spokeswoman Martie Gilchrist said the branch was closing because the lease had not been renewed.

In September last year, Post Office management told Parliament the parastatal was losing R100 million a month, and had made a net loss of R285 million in the first three months of the financial year.

The Bloubergrant and Bothasig branches are also closing, while Paarl and Huguenot are amalgamating. Ms Gilchrist said all staff at affected branches would be relocated.

Ms Gilchrist said the Post Office was amalgamating outlets “in order to adapt its network to changing consumer patterns”. This was being done in urban areas and not in rural areas where post offices were far apart.

Earlier this year, the Post Office received a R650 million bail-out. Ms Gilchrist said the funding injection had been approved with the proviso that it be used to finance a turnaround.

The Post Office CEO Mark Barnes was making changes to the strategic turnaround plan, said Ms Gilchrist, although “the detail is not yet known”.

Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (SCOPA) dismissed a meeting on March 7 after the Post Office board failed to show up. Scopa chairman Themba Godi told Post Office managers they wanted the board chairman, Simo Lushaba, to answer questions on expenditure and to account for the R1.5 billion loss the Post Office suffered in the last financial year.

Mr Godi said the board chairman had to account for R908 million the Post Office owed creditors and R125m the Post Office lost every month. MPs described the Post Office as an entity in shambles.

A shopper at N1 City Mall, Fatima Abrahams, said she often used the post office to send parcels to her family in Johannesburg. She would have to drive further to do that once the branch at the mall closed.

Goodwood resident Martin Murray often uses the post office to send letters to friends and family.

“No one today does that anymore, but I think it is a good gesture to actually write a letter and send it to people,” said Mr Murray.

He walks to N1 City to post his mail because he doesn’t drive. Now, he would have to walk further to Parow or some other place to post his letter, he said. “It is an inconvenience, but if they are closing down, there is nothing we can do”.

Natalie Dippenaar, the marketing manager for N1 City Mall, confirmed the N1 City post office will close at the end of April, and said that the mall is busy finding a replacement store.