When I sat down to have a chat with our Postmistress, Gerda van Wyk, the first 'shock' surprise was to learn that she has worked for our Montagu Post Office for 40 years already. Such a milestone! Especially as she does not look a day older than 40 years herself!
The 2nd was the immediate realisation that we have a lady here who really does know what “walking that extra mile” means when it comes to service! This was the reason I looked Gerda up as so many people in town has commented on what amazing dedication she and her staff have recently shown to their job and to the needs of their community.
Post Office customers have these past few months been met with the front door of our Post Office unceremoniously locked, barred and closed for business. This happened 4 times so far ithis past year to be exact.
It did not take long to discover the reason - the Post Office reneged on their Lease Agreement and has not been too 'diligent' with their rental payments of late!
The 2nd time that this happened Gerda took matters in her own hands. She contacted and received permission from the Post Office Regional Manager to literally move all their stock (stationery, all the bags of mail, etc) everything bar the kitchen sink from the premises so that they can operate and conduct business as close to normal from her home.
The run-of-the-mill business is easy enough, says Gerda, but the challenge came with the sorting of the post as they have 750 Post Boxes to service ! The businesses even continued to enjoy the special service they have been accustomed to of having their mailbox post delivered to their door. There were times they accommodated some customers who could not make it during business hours, by waiting for them after hours - sometimes until 6:30pm!
Gerda asked that the community PLEASE be made aware that what happened is NOT the fault of the Montagu Post Office, but the Finance Department at the Pretoria Head Office.
The Montagu Post Office Staff would like to assure the community that should this happen again, they will personally endeavour that business will again continue as normal.
Worcester is where all our incoming as well as outgoing mail comes from and they are also fully in the picture and very helpful to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged or put out in any way.
Montagu is divided into 2 ‘wards’ as far as deliveries of mail go. That means that everyone gets their mail delivered every other day.
Gerda says they were so impressed by and would like to thank the many residents who popped in frequently at her house to see how they were coping and if they were OK. Many brought snacks and drinks or just stopped by to say thank you.
Even the Post Office CEO, Mark Barnes (who was informed of the situation by the Montagu community) was so impressed to learn how the Montagu staff dealt with the difficult situation they found themselves in and how they overcame the hurdles put in their way, that he personally phoned Gerda and also paid them a visit.
Understandably, there is concern about the future of SA Post Office countrywide. The fact that no less than 7 MILLION parcels are still awaiting delivery, is no longer just a rumour . On average, it now takes 3 to 4 months to have parcels from abroad delivered !
Under the circumstances, we are very thankful that none of the 5 employees at our Post Office have jumped ship. Gerda van Wyk (Postmistress) and staff: Samantha Jaftha, Babalwa November, Michael Koker and Adam Plaatjies, we salute you. You are shining examples for continuing your excellent service to the community and walking that extra mile for all those who need you and rely on the Post Office services
IN THE PHOTO: Samantha, Gerda and Babalwa with some fresh flowers and a box of chocolates donated by our Montagu SPAR as a gesture of thanks from the store as well.