Several South African Post Office workers are in shock after receiving hefty unpaid medical aid bills, without what they say was any warning or proper explanation.
It’s alleged that the Post Office failed to pay its Medical Aid Scheme, MEDIPOS, for months.
Workers’ unions are calling for state intervention. The Post Office is seeking an R1.6 billion cash injection from National Treasury.
Many workers fear that they might be without medical cover soon. Post Office employee Karabo Ndala shares her frustration.
“We are not certain about our future. Deductions are made from our salaries but the company is not paying MEDIPOS. We are sinking because on a daily need we even run out of paper. A normal Typek that we are in need of. We had to get it out of our pocket.”
The high medical aid bills come as workers have received no increase in two years.
While the Post Office was reluctant to respond to queries, unions are spitting fire.
Levy Zwane from Postal and Communications Union (DEPACU) says,” Issues of medical aid is that medical schemes have been giving workers letters that if members fail to pay, the cover will be suspended as from October. We view it as a serious concern because most of the employees at SAPO are living on chronic conditions of which they need medication and health consideration.”
Aubrey Tshabalala of the Communication Workers Union (CWU)‚ blames the current board for the prevailing situation.
“We are being informed about the challenges regarding the Post Office’s finances but we not being taken into confidence. There are a number of things that have happened under this current board like deductions of salaries towards medical schemes and other things but in fact those monies did not go to the service providers.”
The Post Office is riddled with challenges. Many Post Offices are not maintained, compromising the quality of services rendered.
Senior citizens heavily depend on these services and they are worried.
Tomas Motau from Mamelodi is a concerned resident who is worried about the future of the organisation.
In neighbouring Eersterust, residents say they are extremely inconvenienced by the closure of the Post Office.
Many other branches are also shutting their doors amid the serious financial constraints.
Unions say the unpaid medical aid bills sent to workers is evidence of how grave the situation is.