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The next time they buy books or DVDs from, the world’s biggest online store, South Africans will have to pay dearly for shipping. According to the newest guidelines, South Africa is the only country in Africa –  we repeat, the only one – that is not covered by either standard or expedited shipping. Instead, DHL priority service has become the only option available. And to DHL a single DVD can cost you about R400.

So, why are South African online shoppers being punished? In short, it seems that has decided to stop sending shipments through South African Post Office because of widespread fraud and theft.

As we said, South Africa is the only country in Africa that is banished from both cheaper modes of shipping, standard and expedited. Another African country, Nigeria, is banned from standard mode – but still gets the expedited option.

A comment from one South African consumer, found online, and quoted here in full: “This is a disgrace. I was able to buy cheap dvds at the back of my local post office. Now I must hang around the back of DHL” – elicited from us at bidorbuy but an embittered chuckle.