The South African Post Office (Sapo) had closed 80 branches across the country in the past four months, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele said.

He was responding to DA MP Natasha Mazzone, who asked about the number of Post Office branches that had shut their doors since the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, granted a provisional liquidation order in June.

Mazzone also wanted to know where the branches were located and the social grant recipients affected by the closures.

Gungubele said Sapo was placed under business rescue by the court order in July, a move that nullified the provisional liquidation.

“Where Post Office branches have been closed, grant recipients may access their social grants from the closest Post Office,” he said.

Gungubele’s response showed that KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of closed branches at 29, followed by Gauteng with 20, Western region (Western Cape and Northern Cape) 12, North region (Limpopo and Mpumalanga) seven, and Central provinces (Free State and North West) five.

Branches in Philippi, Ladismith, Mamre, Gansbaai, Barrydale, Rhodes’ Gift and Tulbagh are among those closed in the Western Cape.

Social grant beneficiaries that were serviced by the now closed Ladismith branch will have to travel to the nearest branch in Oudshoorn, about 97km away, while those in Magogong in the Northern Cape will travel 123km to get to the Hartswater branch.

When asked by DA MP Tsholofelo Bodlani whether Sapo was collaborating with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to reduce the number of post offices that were leased, Gungubele said: “No properties are leased from the DPWI.”

He also said before Sapo was placed in business rescue in July, several non-core properties had identified to be sold or redeveloped.

“A business rescue plan is in the process of being developed which will consider the list of non-core properties to be sold or redeveloped and where required, amend such a list.”

He said non-core properties would undergo an independent valuation process before being made available for sale.

“Sapo is unable to disclose the expected revenue to be generated from the sale of these non-core properties,” Gungubele said.