Post office branches to close down

Athina May

Bloubergrant and Bothasig post offices are the latest to face the chopping block and will close before the end of March, as the SA Post Office continues to be gripped by financial crisis.

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. The parastatal made a net loss of R1.5 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year. The state threw the foundering parastatal a R650m lifeline, but there’s been little sign of it turning the corner.

SA Post Office spokeswoman Martie Gilchrist said the closures were part of an “amalgamation” plan created by the Post Office’s new CEO Mark Barnes in order to turn things around.

Asked why the Bloubergrant and Bothasig offices were closing, Ms Gilchrist said their leases had not been renewed.

“The new CEO, Mark Barnes is currently making changes for a strategic turnaround,” she said.

The Post Office, she said, was only “amalgamating outlets” in urban areas and all staff would be relocated.

Table View resident Louis Germishuys expressed his anger at the closure of the Bloubergrant post office, saying: “I have been a PO box holder for over 20 years, and it really pissed me off. It’s crazy, we are in the hub of the wheel at Bayside, and with one hour free parking it’s ideal for post.

“We have now been told that we must go to Boy de Goede, Big Bay or Dunoon?”

Brendan Keith Shaw commented in the Table View Neighbours (New) Facebook group: “How do people without a car get to a post office? What a joke. But it’s a government department. I shouldn’t be surprised.”

Lorraine Alison de Walder said Table View, Sunningdale and Parklands were the fastest growing areas in Cape Town yet there was no post office available in the areas.

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.

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”.

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