SA Post Office vs Private couriers – Pricing showdown

The South African Post Office recently announced its updated services fees, which will be implemented on 1 April 2020.

The new 2020 rates will see users paying more for sending packages, mail, and stamps.

While the SA Post Office remains one of the cheapest ways to send mail and other small items, it is a different story when it comes to shipping large and valuable packages.

Many South African consumers and retailers prefer to use couriers instead of the SA Post Office for package delivery, due to the greater reliability of these private services.

We compared the Post Office’s updated fees with those listed by private courier companies on their websites to determine which was the cheaper option.

It is important to note that the Post Office does run a parcel delivery service named Speed Services, but there is no pricing listed for this service on its website.

Package price comparison

The South African Post Office considers any postal item larger than 250 x 353 mm and/or thicker than 30mm and/or weighing more than 1 kg a “parcel”.

For these counter-to-counter deliveries, it charges R61.35 for the first kilogram, with an additional R8.25 charged for each additional kilogram or part of a kilogram.

Insurance is an optional extra, and the sender has the option of insuring the ordinary parcel at a rate of 3% of the declared value up to a maximum of R5,000 with a minimum rate of R4.55 per parcel.

Many courier companies operate on the same policy, charging a flat rate that increases on a per-kg basis once a weight threshold has been exceeded.

We compared the cheapest available price for sending a 5kg 30cm x 30cm x 30cm package to a local destination in the same city across the SA Post Office, RAM, The Courier Guy, FastWay, and PostNet.

This comparison does not include waybill or fuel surcharges that are declared separately or insurance costs.

It should be noted that the SA Post Office and PostNet prices listed below reflect counter-to-counter deliveries, and not door-to-door.

Service Minimum price Price per kg 5kg delivery
PostNet R99 R20 (over 5kg) R99
The Courier Guy R95 R95
SA Post Office R61.35 R8.25 (over 1kg) R94.35
RAM R80 R5 (over 9kg) R80
Fastway R70 R70

Ordinary mail prices

Unlike couriers, the SA Post Office charges customers different rates for envelopes, newspapers, rolled items, and postcards.

These can vary based on whether you supply your own envelope, whether you have paid your postage, and the size of your envelope.

The SA Post Office price list for ordinary mail is listed below.

Product New rate
Client’s own envelope (unsorted/non-bulk)  
Small R4.90
Medium R9.85
Large R12.05
Cylinder/Rolled Items
Cylinder/Rolled Items (520mm x 70mm) R12.05
Cylinder/Rolled Items (620mm x 70mm) R21.40
Rolled addressed newspapers
Rolled addressed newspapers (324mm x 70mm) R6.50
Postage included (prepaid) envelope (postage and cost of envelope)
Small with and without window and self-seal envelope R5.20
Small (maxi) with and without window and self-seal envelope R5.20
Medium R11.30
Large R15.10
Lettergram R5.10
Postcard
Change of address (postage paid) R5.20
Ordinary postcard (Post Office card, postage paid) R5.20
Client’s own Postcard
Small R4.90
Medium R9.85
Large R12.05

Now read: Thieves caught with R480,000-worth of stolen batteries

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SA Post Office vs Private couriers – Pricing showdown