The SA Post Office (SAPO) retail branches nationwide will stay open as normal during the 21-day nationwide lockdown so as to facilitate the payments of SASSA social grants. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, on Monday (March 23, 2020) President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown effective midnight on Thursday, March 26, 2020, for all of South Africa.
SAPO's social grants payments function is an essential service and among the categories exempted from the nationwide lockdown. In total, 882 SAPO branches have been designated to provide these services during this period.
To the extent that SAPO logistics services are included in the transportation of medical aid supplies, our logistics services business unit will continue to render those services. In order to minimize transmission risks, SAPO's retail employees will be restricted to operating beyond one meter of each other.
Measures have also been put in place to control the distance between queueing customers, as well as providing requisite queue marshaling services during peak times in the busy branches. Hygiene improving provisions such as sanitizers, gloves and masks are being made available to retail employees.
"The decision by our President that SAPO branches remain open for social grant payments is accepted by SAPO as we are designated to provide this important national service and we are cognizant of the importance of social grants for a sizeable part of our population constituting mostly vulnerable people", explains Ivumile Nongogo, SAPO Acting CEO. SAPO's mail services, parcel deliveries and other support operations will be suspended in conformance with the 21-day lockdown, says Nongogo.
The SAPO customer services contact center will also not be available either by telephone or email, and customers are urged to not expect any outstanding deliveries to take place during this time. Customers are also advised not to place any mail items in postboxes as mail collections will be completely suspended during the lockdown.