President Cyril Ramaphosa says in an ever-changing world, the postal sector plays a key role in facilitating all the objectives of growing the economy.
The President said this when the South African Post Office presented him with a commemorative stamp bearing his image at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The President is the fifth Head of State to be honoured with the commemorative stamp ever since the advent of democracy.
“It remains the most affordable platform to which our people from rural areas and townships can access services better. Postal services have been an important catalyst for economic growth and should remain so into our digitised future. The opening up of new opportunities with online commerce presents our postal sector with new opportunities,” he said.
The presentation of the commemorative stamp to President Ramaphosa coincided with the commemoration of World Post Day. Postal Services and Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, SA Post Office CEO Mark Barns and Board chair Comfort Ngidi officiated the presentation of the stamp.
Cwele said the Presidential commemorative stamps play an important role in nation building as it reflects the country’s diverse culture, history and heritage.
He said SA Post Office policy requires government to issue a stamp in honour of every President as part of the country’s history.
He said the postal sector plays a critical role in the lives of the citizens alongside the ICT sector. “As the e-commerce market grows and develops, the postal market also continues to grow.”
Barnes said the Post Office, which offers a variety of services, was a one-stop shop for citizens. It also promotes financial inclusion by offering banking services, through Post Bank, to South Africans who reside in far flung areas.
He quipped and said to the President that while the Post Office was proud to be associated with the stamp bearing his image, his “face value” was now worth R4.20 – the amount that citizens could buy the stamp for.
The role of the Post Office
The President said, meanwhile, that with their distinctive red signage, post offices remain an important part of the nation’s economic and social landscape in urban centres and far-flung villages alike.
He said more than five million social grant recipients recently became part of the beneficiaries of the diverse services offered by post offices countrywide.
“Our nation’s post offices are both client service centres and cultural institutions that bring dignity to communities and mark key events and transitions in the lives of individuals.
“They are a part of our national heritage that is not only geographically embedded in all communities, but also sentimentally engraved in the consciousness of South Africans.
“The South African Post Office occupies a special place in our endeavours to build a united, cohesive and proud South African nation,” he said.
Calls for citizens to use postal services
The President said in the age of technological disruption, the South African Post Office is faced with the task of giving all South Africans the benefit of participating in the digital society.
He said it is for this reason that government must increase internet connectivity in all post offices across the country to ensure that everyone, particularly the youth, benefit.
“As we deepen economic transformation and create new value streams in our economy, our postal services are poised to bring new goods and services to the nation, create new jobs, create new wealth and help us build an inclusive knowledge society.
“It is my wish that new entrants to our economy – and especially young entrepreneurs – will explore the full range of business and civic solutions offered by the South African Post Office.
“I am confident that they will be pleasantly inspired by what they discover and that their enterprises will, as a result, flourish around our countryside in the same way the Post Office has become a pervasive feature of our national life.
“Now we have arrived at the moment where postal becomes personal, and where I am honoured to officially unveil the Presidential Commemorative Stamp.
“When you paste this stamp onto a postal item and send it into the world or the country, it will indeed be the realisation of ‘Thuma Mina!'” the President said.