/ 2 November 2007

Dept of Home Affairs ditches Post Office over inefficiency

The Department of Home Affairs has ditched the South African Post Office (Sapo) as the distributor of its documents because of inefficiency.

Initially, the Sapo contract with the department to deliver documents went very well, Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told a media briefing at Parliament on Friday.

”However, we began to hit problems at some point whereby we discovered that Sapo really had no capacity to ensure that our IDs [documents] were distributed timeously and that they were delivered to the relevant physical addresses where they were needed to be delivered.

”But also we found that we had various service providers that were doing different things,” she said.

Different service providers were responsible for the postage of application forms from front offices to head office, from head office to front offices and for distribution of the finished IDs to addresses.

The department had now decided that it was better to have one service provider who would do everything.

”But certainly, we’ve hit very serious problems with Sapo.”

”One of these identified by the department, which relates to a whole range of contracts we have, is the level and quality of service-level agreements signed.

”So, we are reviewing our service-level agreements, we are reviewing our decisions with some of the service providers, and it is in that context of the review that we’ve actually had to take this kind of decision of terminating the contract with Sapo.

”It may be that some of the service providers will be casualties of the [review] process. It’s fine, if only to get the desired result we want, and that is efficiency and speed within which things are done within the department,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

The new service provider would be announced soon and commence operations by the end of November.


Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Ministry later on Friday clarified the department’s relationship with Sapo.

Not all the department’s contracts with Sapo have been cancelled, Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesperson, Cleo Mosana, told the South African Press Association.

Sapo would still be responsible for delivering finished ID documents and similar documentation to clients’ home addresses, but deliveries to post-box addresses had been discontinued as of June 1.

Since about a month ago, Sapo’s fully-owned courier service, XPX, had been responsible for conveying documents between local home affairs offices and head office, she said.

XPX had already reduced the delivery time from about 20 days to nine days, but the goal remained 48 hours.

The department now had a month-to-month contract with Sapo and XPX.

The department was still reviewing its service-level agreements with other service providers, Mosana said. — Sapa