Werner Leonard took photos inside the Johannesburg Mail Hub this month, showing the extent of the backlog. (Photo: Facebook)
Cape Town – The South African Post Office (Sapo) said the suggestion of chaos at the Post Office’s Johannesburg International Mail Centre (JIMC) is “incorrect and misleading”.
Fin24 reported on Friday that a frustrated customer had walked into the mail centre and taken photos of the “mayhem” inside the clearing zone.
Fin24 had approached Sapo for comment ahead of publication on Friday.
READ: Post Office agony worsens with mail room woes
Acting Sapo CEO Mlu Mathonsi told Fin24 on Tuesday that “the suggestion of chaos at the Post Office’s JIMC, depicted on the photos doing the rounds on social media, is incorrect and misleading”.
“These photos depict inbound and outbound mail packaged in bags at the Post Office’s JIMC, a practice that is the global standard packaging of inbound and outbound mail and parcels in any international mail centre.
“The SA Post Office’s JIMC receives between 60 000 and 70 000 items per day from international destinations and this includes parcels and letters for SADC postal operators for which we are the hub.
“It also processes a fairly high number of outgoing parcels. The mail centre always has large volumes of items on hand after the arrival of international flights, and in our view this is approximately the time when these photos were taken.
“While the four months strike that affected us last year interrupted our operations in many ways, customers are assured that our operations continue to improve.”
Sapo was responding to these photos posted by Werner Leonard on Facebook. He was able to gain access to the mail hub, and took these photos on March 10:
Fin24 users have sent countless emails about delays in post coming from around the world since the story on Friday was published.
Fin24 user Alywn Botha wrote: "I have ordered gifts for my children from an eBay auction and it was dispatched on 4 September 2014 from the US. To this date I have received no information as to where in the system this parcel is.
"I have made numerous calls and email inquiries to Sapo personnel with no luck. Calling to customs is worse – there is no answer, and if a call is eventually answered, you get transferred to a 'ghost' station."
Small businesses are also suffering from the delays.
Fin24 user Bradley wrote: "I have a small business and on average post about 12 parcels a day. We also make use of the Post Office to import certain items. Currently the delivery time of international parcels is about 12 weeks, making it impossible to do business, but the problems are far worse than the Post Office tries to make out and it is affecting all areas of the Sapo business.
"Prior to the strike action that crippled the Post Office last year we would have about one parcel tampered with or go missing on a monthly basis, and we used to get about one to two parcels returned to us as undelivered (R.T.S) free of charge since the Sapo did not deliver.
"Since the strike, we have several stolen or tampered parcels every month, and not a day goes by without parcels being returned to us a undelivered. On speaking to our customers, they informed us that they were never even notified of the parcels' arrival, which has led us to believe that the Post Office is maliciously not delivering parcels and just returning them to the sender.
"To add insult to the situation, the sender is then charged a collection tax equal to the postage already paid.
"Our local post office had their system upgraded in December. Since then to date the ticket system that bills and prints the labels has not been working, so all parcels have to be charged by using stamps. So what used to take five minutes at the post office now takes over an hour, due them manually entering the stamps. We now have to travel further to our next closest post office to do our daily postage.
"As for the social media contact - firstname.lastname@example.org - this is a joke. All they do is send a cut and paste answer regarding every query with nothing ever resolved."
* Has your business been affected by the JIMC's delays? Tell us now.