Address by Ms Dina Pule, MP, Minister of Communications, South Africa, UPU Congress, Doha, Qatar
9 Oct 2012I congratulate the UPU, Honourable Ministers and distinguished delegates, who have elevated national addressing and postcode systems, to this prominent level in our discourse regarding the sustainability of the postal sector. In our view the Postal sector forms a crucial part of the life blood of our economies and is a valuable tool for socio-economic development.
South Africa, along with other countries, has contributed to the work of the UPU on the development of National Address Systems. The benefits of national address systems extend beyond the provision of postal products. They extend our reach, enabling us to provide a range of services to people living in poor and remote communities. South Africa has long appreciated the economic and social benefits of addressing and we have continually rolled out a minimum of one million new addresses per annum since 2006. Addressing has facilitated the work of the emergency services and allowed students in remote areas to register.
These new addresses prompted an increase in mail volumes, which up to that point, had been declining steadily. Whilst the global trend is for a decline in letter post volumes, in South Africa the sector has actually been increasing at 4 to 5% over the past 5 to 6 years, due to the provision of addresses, at an average rate of 1.5 million addresses per year. It should be noted that the increased volumes are mostly Business to consumer correspondence.
The SA Post Office’s (SAPO) unique addressing solution includes the geo-coding of each address in South Africa. This enables any vehicle with a GPS to get to the address. SAPO’s addressing is part of the UPU’s addressing standards (S42).
The National addressing system is a major component of our initiatives aimed at fostering economic and social inclusion. It is not just about the provision of postal services. The provision of addresses enables our citizens to be economically active; for example, it helps them to open bank accounts, utilise banking services, facilitate money transfers and other commercial services.
Without an address, it is seldom possible to access these services. It offers the opportunity to support the development of underserviced, poor and remote communities and local businesses, and extend the provision of government services. South Africa has worked consistently with the UPU on the development of addressing standards, commencing with the development of the UPU S42 International addressing standard. Subsequently, South Africa became one of the first 16 countries in the World to achieve full compliance with UPU S42 Addressing Standard. Further to the S42, South Africa actively participated in the development of the S53 standard for exchange of name and address data.
The UPU expert group proceeded to utilise data from SA and France to test the S53 testing system.
Our work with the UPU has continued through the provision of technical expertise to service UPU technical assistance missions, particularly in a region of some importance for us, Africa. We remain firmly convinced that providing addresses to our people especially those in rural and remote areas in the developing countries and Africa in particular has tremendous benefits beyond the business interests of the postal operators.
Addressing is a proven catalyst for economic growth and economic inclusion of the marginalised. We are highly encouraged by the number of African countries that are embarking on this journey of developing national addressing and postcodes systems and we remain committed to offering our assistance in terms of sharing our experience in designing and implementing national address systems. Thus far we have provided assistance to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania.
Tanzania has now gone on to become best practice in this area. Postal business is big business, but it should be bigger. It should be truly universal. I believe the right to communicate for every human being has become of fundamental importance in the modern era. No-one can afford to be excluded and everyone must be included.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Communications
9 Oct 2012
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