Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at unveiling of Presidential Commemorative Stamp
9 October 2018
Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele,
Deputy Minister, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams,
Chairperson of the South African Post Office, Mr Comfort Ngidi,
CEO of the South African Post Office, Mr Mark Barnes,
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour and pleasure to accept this Commemorative Stamp on the occasion of World Post Day.
When World Post Day was declared at the 1969 Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo, it was to signal that the world was then shifting slowly towards a globalised citizenship.
It was a recognition that building the bridges of cooperation across borders was essential for humankind to thrive.
For many years, postal services were instrumental in enabling nation states and their citizens to interact with the rest of the world.
Postal services have been pivotal in the every day lives of people and businesses, and have made a significant contribution to global social and economic development.
More than simply facilitating commerce, postal services brought people closer together.
They made distance less important and separation more bearable.
When our own leaders were in prison, they used letters to stay in touch with their families.
It was through these letters that, despite strict censorship, they got to learn more about the world outside – and the world outside got to learn more about them.
Through these letters, the inner thoughts and daily experiences of some of our most remarkable leaders have been preserved for future generations – and especially the digital generation.
As technology has advanced, the role and form of postal services have become a frontier of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In the South African context, this means that our postal services need to be developmental and transformative.
Our National Development Plan outlines our commitment to building a more inclusive society to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in the country by 2030.
Specific goals and steps have been set out in the NDP to achieve an inclusive and prosperous society.
As a departure from the past, we want to create an environment where opportunities are determined not by birth but by ability, education and hard work.
In this changing world, the postal sector plays a key role in facilitating all the objectives of growing the economy.
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 present our postal sector with new opportunities.
With their distinctive red signage, post offices remain an important part of our nation’s economic and social landscape in urban centres and far-flung villages alike.
More than 5 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.
The services offered by the South African Post Office manifest our tireless effort to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person in line with the precepts of our Constitution.
The South African Post Office is presented with the task – in a time of rapid technological change – of giving all South Africans the benefit of participating in the digital society.
It is for this reason that we 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!”.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency, 9 October 2018