Can you Forward your Mail from South Africa?

July 29, 2013

When we moved away from South Africa, one of my last errands was to return my post office key. I went to the local post office in Dainfern Valley and asked how this is done.

"Oh, you just give me the key," was the answer.

"That's it? No form to fill out? Won't I get a receipt?"

"No, you just give me the key," at which she shoved the key into some drawer and gave me a dismissive look.

Oh well. It seemed a bit irregular, but then again, I was leaving the country. And, frankly, any time you are not asked to fill out a lengthy form by a South African official, you are thrilled and don't want to spoil your good luck by asking any more questions.

So I left, and didn't bother to ask the next obvious question, i.e. how any mail could be forwarded to our new address abroad. Leaving a hole in my meticulously assembled moving-out expat to-do list.

Which is why I was so thrilled to hear that a friend of mine explored that very question when it was her turn to leave South Africa recently. 

Maybe she could provide some answers.

This was her conversation with the post office:

"I'd like to redirect our mail internationally from South Africa."

"That's not possible."

"It's not?"

"No, it's not. No-one in South Africa has ever moved abroad, so no-one has ever needed to do that."

There you go. Such simple logic. All of us now living abroad, we don't really exist. Except on the books of the SABC when it comes to renewing our TV licenses, and on the books of the UIF when it comes to keep paying unemployment insurance for domestics we no longer employ. 

Well, at least they can't reach us per mail. 

If the mailboxes are even working, that is.



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