Villages now on mailing list

Mail is widely seen as an economic enabler - in more ways than one.

Mail is widely seen as an economic enabler - in more ways than one.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, introduced in 2001, meant that a postal address is a requirement for economic participation.

Opening an account with a bank, clothing store or even using an emergency service requires an address. But this did not apply to the vast number of citizens in the rural areas who had no postal addresses.

To address this need, the Post Office has been focusing on expanding delivery footprint by roughly 67percent countrywide over the past five years. Nationally, about 1,9 million new postal addresses were rolled out by March 2007, resulting in a total of 10million postal addresses. This is part of a project that will provide each household in South Africa with a postal address by 2010.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Post Office has allocated more than 382000 postal addresses to households that previously received no mail. By utilising GPS principles, it has allowed a number of rural households, where no street names and no house numbers exist, to have functional postal addresses which will give residents access to important services such as the delivery of identity documents.

Each address is captured on a geographical system that depicts the exact geographical location of the address.

The system captures and identifies objects on the map, such as delivery points, their location on the surface of the Earth and their spatial relationship.

Each household in a village is assigned a six-digit identification address, of which the first two digits identify the village, the second two refer to a different section in the village and the last two refer to the stand.

A postal agent, appointed in consultation with the village chief, collects the mail delivered to a central point and distributes it to each dwelling. Delivery takes place according to demand - the higher the mail volumes, the more regular the delivery. Mail is delivered at no cost to the recipients.

The Post Office has invested about R17 million in the address provision innovation across the country for the past financial year. This not only includes the provision of addresses, but the actual painting of the numbers on households that did not have addresses in rural areas. The Post Office sees to it that residents paint the numbers on the walls.

When an organisation is not financially secure, its resources are focused on survival.

Now that the Post Office has achieved stability it is able to incorporate sustainable thinking and practice, social responsibility and environmental awareness into its strategy.

The address expansion project will give our communities in the rural areas access to a basic service, create local part-time jobs and also boost the economy.

The formal adoption of the Post Office's corporate social investment strategy will make it a true global player who does not only focus on service delivery, but will also portray it as an organisation that is committed to giving back to the community.

This is just one of the ventures of the Post Office that will be unveiled this year, as part of its new business model.