Original Research

The postal performance of the South African Post Office: An international and local perspective

Hans W. Ittmann
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 17 | a948 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v17i0.948 | © 2023 Hans W. Ittmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2023 | Published: 19 October 2023

About the author(s)

Hans W. Ittmann, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Postal services have been impacted by e-digitisation and e-commerce. The revenue derived by the South Africa Post Office (SAPO) from letter-post has declined contributing to its financial difficulties. This has led to a decline in the mail delivery service and performance. With its country-wide network, SAPO can offer an affordable and indispensable service.

Objectives: The objective is to evaluate the mail delivery performance of SAPO, using both an international and local perspective, with an emphasis on aspects such as logistics, supply chain management (SCM), last mile delivery, etc.

Method: Primary data, by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), on postal performance were used with locally collected primary tracking data of postal delivery from origin to destination of registered postal items. A quantitative data analysis and evaluation was performed using these data to get a sense of the postal development and mail delivery performance of SAPO.

Results: The postal development performance of SAPO as measured by the UPU was compared with actual quantitative tracking data. There seems to be a significant disconnect between the results published by the UPU and what those in South Africa are experiencing.

Conclusion: This quantitative analysis shows that SAPO’s postal service is no longer a reliable, predictable and professional service. It will necessitate an enormous effort to turn it around.

Contribution: The article provides a view on the performance of the postal services of SAPO, both from an international and local perspective.


postal service; supply chain management; postal development performance; tracking data analysis

JEL Codes

C00: General; C80: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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