File: The post office is one of a number of state-owned entities looking to government for assistance.
JOHANNESBURG - The South African Post Office (Sapo) has confirmed its retail branches will stay open as usual during the 21-day national lockdown.
The post offices are staying open to facilitate the payments of SASSA social grants.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the 21-day lockdown would take effect on Thursday evening at midnight and would affect all businesses besides those classified as essential services.
"Sapo’s social grants payments function is an essential service and among the categories exempted from the nationwide lockdown," Post Office said in a statement.
"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."
Sapo's retail employees will be restricted to operating one meter away from one another.
Control measures for customers queuing include queue marshalling services during peak hours at busy branches.
Sapo has additionally stated hygiene provisions will be stepped up with sanitisers, gloves, and masks to be provided to retail employees.
COVID-19: 21-days lockdown explained
Ivumile Nongogo, Sapo's acting-CEO, said the president's decision was accepted by the organisation as they are designated to distribute social grants for a sizeable portion of vulnerable people.
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 centre 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.
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