Plumstead post office strained by branch closures, Covid relief

Plumstead post office has reduced long queues for grant recipients by introducing a system where the last three digits of a grant recipient’s ID number determines the day of the week when they can collect their grant.

The closure of Constantia, Retreat and Muizenberg post offices has put extra pressure on the Plumstead post office, says its branch manager, Fazline Milton.

The branch came close to closing after getting complaints from neighbouring Absa about long queues on the pavement, she says.

The problem had started with the pandemic as they had had to pay out Covid-relief-fund payments on top of the old-age, child-maintenance and disability grants they already disbursed, she said.

In one day, they could have almost 500 people each day coming from Gugulethu, the northern suburbs, Philippi, Lansdowne and Simon’s Town if money had run out at other branches, she said.

However, SA Post Office spokesman Johan Kruger said there was no danger of Plumstead post office closing and they had reduced waiting times by introducing a system where the last three digits of a grant recipient’s ID number determined what day of the week they could collect their grant.

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) spokesperson Shivani Wahab said social grant recipients had the option of collecting their grants through private bank accounts, the SA Post Office or at approved merchants.

At Absa, after waiting one hour to speak to the branch manager, Ameera Holmes, we sent emails and left a voice message asking if the issue of queues had been resolved. Ms Holmes later responded, saying she had forwarded the enquiry to Absa’s head office. Spokesperson Asha Speckman called to say she could not provide a response for our deadline.