This is just amazing. Amazon no longer offers standard or even expedited shipping to South Africa (of all the African countries it ships to) because our post office is staffed by thieves. Although it doesn’t surprise me, it blows my mind that this has actually happened.
The only shipping option is the most expensive one and involves courier deliveries at a cost of around $40 per shipment and between $5 and $10 per item depending on what you are buying. The best option is probably to start sourcing your Amazon goodness from WantItAll which I understand from the ZA Tech Show guys is the unofficial Amazon distributor locally. I believe that these guys have access to Amazon’s inventory and bypass the post office for incoming stuff.
The one thing I am not sure about is whether WantItAll ships locally via the post office or courier? According to the WantItAll blog:
With respect to our service we still have an arrangement with amazon.com whereby we can ship nearly every item from amazon.com into South Africa. Our service is now quite a bit cheaper than that offered by the majority of the retailers here in South Africa, with our book prices seeming to be the most competitive here in South Africa.
We have also worked hard on sourcing well priced DVD’s as well as music CD’s, however there are costs inherit with importing all products from abroad. We do however have a catalogue of over 6million books, cd’s and DVD’s.
We ship from the USA in bulk, on a daily basis, and offer the same service amazon if offering customers here in South Africa (DHL International Priority service) at a fraction of the cost. We’ve seen a HUGE upswing in business since November last year, and with these changes being made to amazon.com and the number of people in South Africa wishing to purchase from online stores, we expect even larger growth this year.
I think I can safely say that I dislike the post office even more than Telkom. The post office also owns the Docex delivery service which is also being used as a vehicle for widespread fraud. It seems that the post office is just an extension of the general theft and corruption that we like to call our public service.
And has the government responded? Of course not. I don’t know why anyone even expects a response.
Bottom line, order your stuff from WantItAll if you don’t want to pay the higher delivery fees or from Amazon using the priority shipping for fast, although expensive, shipping. Of course there is also Kalahari.net …
Update: It turns out my dislike of the post office has skewed my perspective a bit (weird huh?). The post office apparently has made serious inroads into preventing theft along the distribution lines it operates and was pretty surprised that Amazon won’t touch it with a pole.
Simon thinks Amazon is doing this for another reason … watch his space for more as he investigates!