Telkom has announced that account payment options for their customers will no longer include the South African Post Office.
The partially state-owned telecommunications company said dropping the state-owned mail carrier “aims to streamline payment processes” for customers.
Telkom acknowledged that the change may be unexpected and inconvenient for some customers still using the Post Office as a payment channel.
“At Telkom, we remain committed to offering our customers simple and convenient options to settle their accounts,” said Telkom consumer operations managing executive Albertus Venter.
“We encourage our customers to explore alternative payment channels, such as direct EFT payments through their banks. They can also contact our customer service call centre at 10210 and sign up for a debit order, a hassle-free method to ensure seamless settlement of monthly accounts.”
The Post Office is in dire financial straits and was placed in provisional liquidation earlier this year.
Communications minister Mondli Gungubele said government would do everything it could to save the ailing entity.
“Government has over the years embarked on several interventions to get the SA Post Office back on track,” Gungubele said in a May Parliamentary debate.
“These include a total of R7.3 billion cash injection between 2016 and 2019, partnerships with [the State IT Agency] and Postbank on infrastructure development and sourcing of expertise from the private sector.”
Government has budgeted another R2.4 billion bailout for the Post Office this year.
Gungubele also said government had defended the Post Office’s protected monopoly on parcels lighter than 1kg.
“In fact, we are currently in court because there are other unregistered players encroaching in that space to the detriment of the SA Post Office,” he said.
The “unregistered players” he referred to include private sector couriers like Courier Guy, DHL, FedEx, and PostNet that have stepped up to fill the void left by the Post Office’s total lack of service delivery.
The Post Office has applied to overturn its provisional liquidation and be placed under business rescue instead.
Business rescue would allow the Post Office to pause repayments on outstanding debts, buying time to negotiate with creditors to avoid going out of business.
Among the bills the Post Office has not paid are fees for the staff medical aid scheme, Medipos, and pension fund contributions.