Motlanthe's stamps of approval

Postage stamps marking the tenure of President Kgalema Motlanthe, due for release at last month’s opening of Parliament, have been officially canned—and are now being sold as a philatelic oddity on the internet.

The stamps featuring Motlanthe’s face are now on offer on auction websites such as bidorbuy. It is unclear how the sellers obtained them.

They fetch up to R1 000 for a sheet of 10, whereas the South African Post Office (Sapo) intends selling them for R20.50 a sheet.

Philatelic experts say stamps bought in this manner are virtually worthless, but give some collectors an exclusive product.

The bidorbuy website features “unreleased perfect full sheets” of the presidential stamps.

The Mail & Guardian has seen an email sent to philatelic societies announcing the delay in the release of the stamps, with no reasons given.

The email, sent by senior manager for philatelic services Johan van Wyk, reads: “Due to unforeseen circumstances we unfortunately have to postpone the issue of the commemorative stamps for President Motlanthe and SAA’s 75th anniversary.”

The SAA stamps were released on February 23.

Sapo spokesperson Ray Mkhize said the Motlanthe sale was halted because “the correct protocol was not followed”, but did not elaborate.

Motlanthe has written to Sapo to say when he would be available to launch the stamps, but a final release date has not been decided, said Mkhize.

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