South African Post Office: We steal

I finally managed to understand the South African Post Office’s mission statement: “We will enable the nation to efficiently connect with the world by distributing information, goods, financial and government services; leveraging our broad reach and embracing change, technology and innovation“. Till now I was always of the impression, that the distribution of goods was intended for the recipient of such parcel or postal item.

Our national postal service is not like that. Their workers steal wherever an opportunity presents itself and every person with a postal address in this country will have experienced missing mail or parcels.

Many international eCommerce shops have subsequently stopped delivering via the South African Postal system and I prove a case in point: On 21st February 2010 I ordered 10 items (all PS3 games) from the UK. All items had been dispatched within a couple of days. Out of the 10 items I have only received 4 (all arrived within 2 weeks). The remaining 6 (or 60%) have disappeared. All items have been sent via registered mail and can be tracked to be delivered to South Africa and thereafter disappears.

In another case my overseas bank sent a new ATM card via registered mail in November 2009 and the item is untraceable once it passed South African borders.

There are common rules and etiquette when it comes to privacy of correspondence and documents cannot be read or opened by anyone other than the receiver; for instance, in the United States it is a violation of federal law for anyone other than the receiver to open mail and mail-theft is a federal crime.