ActionSA has the gravest concern over the careless neglect exhibited by the South African Post Office (SAPO), which leaves rural citizens in a state of despair and frustration. Residents in Sterkspruit and its surrounding villages find themselves in a hopelessly dire situation, unable to access their funds due to persistent system downtime and apathetic staff.
As such, ActionSA will today write to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SAPO, Nomkhita Mona, requesting that she table a plan to bring this recurring bungle to an end.
By her own admission, the SAPO hasn’t turned a profit since 2006 which does not bode well for the efficacy of the discharge of its mandate to the people it is constitutionally obligated to serve. Often the most vulnerable.
The Post Office branch in Sterkspruit, just like many others in the Eastern Cape, serves a significant rural population reliant on this facility for access to essential services, notably the collection of grants and other payments.
EPWP workers under the Department of Roads and Transport, earning a meagre R885 a month (well below the minimum wage), face challenges in collecting their “wages” due to frequent system downtime. The wages that are paid to these workers alone are criminal, especially considering the distance they need to travel to access these hard earned and much-needed funds.
The South African Post Office’s inability to serve these communities goes beyond inconvenience, it has manifested itself into a distressing and life-threatening matter, exemplified by an incident in Ndofela Village.
Villagers around Sterkspruit are spending an amount of R140.00 for a round trip to town, only to return home empty-handed and indebted to local taxi drivers. The situation has become so intolerable that a villager attempted suicide, caught in a spiral of debt with transport providers who have become sceptical of her continued inability to withdraw funds from the local Post Office to repay her debt.
As ActionSA we strongly criticize the current operations of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) at the hands of the ANC government, the parlous state of the South African Post Office, particularly in the rural Eastern Cape’s Joe Gqabi Region epitomises the collapse of SOE’s.
This underscores the substantial impact and devastating consequences of mismanagement. We urge Minister Gungubele to personally intervene, ensuring that the Post Offices in rural communities are adequately resourced and functional. Simultaneously, the Department of Roads and Transport must respect its EPWP workers by remunerating them properly for the work they do to prevent them from facing starvation and indebtedness to transport and other service providers whilst not being able to access money that is rightfully owed to them.
ActionSA believes that the situation in the Joe Gqabi region and other remote rural areas demands urgent attention, as thousands of rural residents are left prejudiced and disadvantaged by the collapse of the South African Post Office which leaves them struggling to put food on their tables compounding the impact of hunger and malnutrition in the province.