Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vodacom + Post Office = No Post For Two Months

my my, isn't the South African Post Office having their best ever year? first it was the humiliation of having the world's biggest online store, amazon.com, blacklist South Africa and refuse to send parcels as the staff of the SAPO were stealing too many of them.

despite being inept and incompetent at the service they are supposed to give, the SAPO branched out last month and started selling shares in SASOL. in a no way surprising sequence of events, they were woefully ill-prepared to deal with doing this, and thus for the last two weeks of June and the first week of July neither i, nor most of South Africa, got any post, save the adverts they get paid to deliver.

one would have hoped that this served as a lesson to them, but no. if you read this complaint i posted you will get the gist of the disaster that is about to befall us.

for some obscure reason, both the SAPO and Vodacom are refusing to discuss the upcoming share issue, saying they are waiting for the right time to make an announcement. as SAPO staff are already complaining about the avalanche of work that they will be smothered under and fear for the complaints coming about their inability to deliver post, i am not sure what they think is so secret at this stage.

for those of you not in the know, let me help Vodacom out by telling you all what is about to happen. for two months, commencing in August 2008, the South African Post Office will be focused on selling "empowerment" shares to the general public. as noble and as generous as the offer may seem, in reality these deals usually involve people handing money over that they can ill afford to do in return for an insignificant amount of shares.

whereas one hopes that the Vodacom offering will not fall in to this category, it does not change the fact that they are going to bring disturbing levels of disruption to the postal services in this country. to issue the shares via the Post Office is a move motivated purely by cost cutting and greed. i have no doubt that it is rather cheap for Vodacom to get the Post Office to do it for them, and as for the Post Office, well, any income is welcomed, any excuse not to deliver the service they are supposed to is embraced.

the above is made clear by the fact that Vodacom are doing this via the Post Office instead of through their own stores; their extensive networks of "VodaShops". they will come up with the excuse just now that the Post Offices are being used as they are more accessible for everyone. this is utter nonsense - Vodacom and their partners have stores everywhere, and are easier to find and have longer operating hours than any Post Office. no, Vodacom are not using their own stores as they do not want to clutter their stores with hundreds (thousands) of people. they want to focus their attention on the service they are supposed to provide, and evidently do not care what happens to the service the Post Office is expected to deliver.

if you are of a mind to do so, by all means bombard the contact details on any or all of the links provided with complaints and questions about this. owing to the general apathy in respect of avoiding problems in SA, i doubt much action will occur. that is, until late August or early September, when bills have not been delivered and accounts go unpaid. i dare say then the SA media, even those who get rather large wads of cash in advertising from the two culprits, will have to report on it.

on that note, i am rather looking forward to the angle they conjure up. when the SA Post Office was blacklisted by amazon.com for theft, you may recall, Johannesburg based semi-professional (ahem) "independent" radio station , who coincidentally were carrying a large amount of expensive, peak time adverts for the SAPO, somehow managed to twist the story to be that customers were actually stealing the parcels themselves, no matter how many people phoned in to tell them stories of items never delivered. how will they manage to re-interpret this one?

ho hum, be excellent to each other, and if you are someone i usually correspond with via the post, see you in October i guess!!!
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