Post Office deadline to send Christmas gifts overseas looms

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If you’re planning on sending Christmas gifts to St Helena, the US or the Far East this year, your deadline is Halloween.

The SA Post Office has urged those living in South Africa who wish to mail any Christmas parcels to other countries to do so as soon as possible.

“This will ensure that the parcels reach their destinations in time for Christmas,” the Post Office said in a statement on Thursday.

“South Africa currently has very little delay with items leaving the country, but these parcels have to go through time-consuming clearance procedures in the country of destination.

“The Post Office is not permitted to send items containing ion lithium batteries via air mail. Please make sure that you do not post an item containing these batteries. All air mail items are x-rayed and scanned for contents, and these items will then be re-routed to surface mail.

While the Post Office said the final date for parcels delivered in Southern Africa was December 8, some of those wishing to mail gifts to other parts of the world needed to do so by the end of this month.

Parcels meant for islands in the Indian Ocean – the Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius and Reunion – must be posted by October 27.

Parcels destined for the islands of Tristan da Cunha, Ascension and St Helena, Australia, the Americas (North and South), the Far East and Asia, Great Britain, Europe, and the Middle East should be posted no later than October 31.

For Africa – the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Peoples Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Madagascar, Angola, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – the last date is December 1.

Items meant for countries bordering South Africa – Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – should be posted no later than December 8.

The Post Office also provided some guidelines to ensure parcels arrived safely:

– Parcels must be packaged securely, as they are transported in bulk;

– If your mail item does not fill the container, fill it with packaging material like shredded paper or polystyrene to act as a shock absorber; and

– Make sure the items you are sending are legal in the country of destination. In most countries, plant and animal material cannot be imported.

The following items may not be posted:

– Items containing ion lithium batteries may not be transported using air mail;

– Illegal items such as drugs;

– Items that could leak and damage other packages, such as liquids; and

– Items that may explode or catch fire during air transport, such as aerosols or flammable liquids.

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