The South African Post Office is working on several initiatives that will significantly expand its service offerings at branches across the country.
This includes a new vehicle licensing feature, an expanded rollout of grant payment facilities, and an increased push into e-commerce, it said. These changes are outlined in more detail below.
The South African Post Office is extending its relationship with retailers, which will allow South Africans to collect their grants from additional stores.
The post office currently allows South Africans to collect a R350 Social Relief of Distress grant (SRD grant) from its offices. It has extended the collection channel for SRD grants to Pick n Pay and Boxer supermarkets.
“The partnership will soon be extended to more retail chains, including spaza shops so that beneficiaries can transact in their own communities and also boosting the local economy,” it said.
“This reduces queues at post offices and makes it easier to comply with social distancing requirements.”
The post office will introduce a new mobile application at the end of October 2021 that will enable vehicle owners to renew licences via mobile phone.
“The renewal and payment will be done using the app, and the motorist can then choose to collect the disk from any convenient post office or have it delivered to an address of their choice. The motor vehicle licence renewal service is currently available in all provinces except the Western Cape, where it will be introduced soon,” the post office said.
“More than three million motor vehicle licences were renewed at branches of the SA Post Office in the past financial year,” the group said.
Expanded Wish.com partnership
In March this year, the post office and Wish.com entered into a formal agreement where SAPO was appointed the distributor of all items ordered through the Wish.com platform.
“Wish.com is now considering appointing the SA Post Office as a distribution hub for the Southern African region, a role that comes naturally to the South African postal entity,” the post office said.
“OR Tambo Airport is the point of entry for all airfreight into the region, and South Africa’s seaports are the points of entry for most surface freight from overseas.”
No more cash
The post office said it will introduce a cashless solution at all of its branches.
“This will reduce the attractiveness of post offices to criminals as there has been a substantial increase in armed robberies and burglaries over the past two years.
“The South African Post Office also accepts cards as a payment method for all transactions at its branches to reduce cash levels and make payments convenient to its customers,” it said.
Increased turnaround times
Together with the Universal Postal Union, the post office said it has introduced an improved tracking system for international items, including a single tracking code. Historically international packages have had their own tracking number, with a different number assigned when the parcel is transferred to the South African Post Office.
The number of international items on hand at the international sorting centre has been totally cleared, from 2.1 million items in April.
“This was achieved by introducing an extra shift, installing additional computers to clear items and by managers who volunteered to work over weekends to process mail.
“The drive to deliver all items on hand continues, and the South African Post Office is encouraging its customers to collect items from their local post office when they receive a collection notice in the mail or an SMS,” SAPO said.