The Post Office was hampered by the full national lockdown, but has since made good strides in its quest to return to business as usual.
This is according to SA Post Office acting CEO Ivumile Nongogo.
“Complete operations came to a standstill and the Post Office was only able to do SASSA grant payments,” said Nongogo of the level 5 lockdown.
“This had a very negative impact on income, cash flows, and customer satisfaction.”
However, Nongogo said, the SA Post Office has since made “enormous strides” in normalising its business.
“Much of our business has returned to normal and we are happy to be able to again provide an essential part of the infrastructure,” said Nongogo.
Requirements of the SA Post Office before it could reopen most of its services included:
- The thorough cleaning of all Post Office facilities.
- The provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to all employees.
- The implementation of screening and sanitising procedures for customers upon entry to post offices.
“A key challenge remains the conditions presented by the pandemic and the fact that we have a large workforce that we must ensure are protected at all times,” said Nongogo.
Not quite business as usual
Nongogo said that much, but not all, of its business had returned to normal.
“We are still not quite back to business as usual but are hopeful that as more businesses open we will get back to somewhat close to normal business,” said Nongogo.
Nongogo added that transport connections to and from various countries outside of South Africa are being reintroduced, with the Americas and most of Europe now added.
China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand have also seen transport connections reintroduced.
“This has affected both customers in South Africa who ordered items from abroad and small businesses in the country that offer online shopping to customers all over the world; fulfilment of the orders was not always immediately possible,” Nongogo said.
The main challenge that remains for the SA Post Office is the fact that transport connections to other countries are not yet at normal levels.
The other major challenge is the cost of complying with regulations, although Nongogo acknowledged that doing so is crucial.
While the SA Post Office may still face difficulties, it also sees opportunities arising out of the crisis.
“We are adjusting to the new way of working and we are hopeful that it will yield its own benefits by way of innovations and efficiencies,” Nongogo said.
“The lockdown restrictions have also made us look at offering a greater variety of services and we plan to make some exciting announcements soon.”
Nongogo did not elaborate on what these announcements could be.
“We are hopeful that customers will be returning to the Post Office to collect their parcels and renew their motor vehicle licences,” said Nongogo.