Welcome address by North West Premier, honourable Ms Edna Molewa, at the Commonwealth Countries Postal Administrators Conference, Sun City
25 July 2006
MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, honourable Darkie Africa,
Executive Mayor of the Bojanala Platinum District, Cllr R Motsepe,
Chairperson of the Commonwealth Countries Postal Administrators, Mr Twiggs Xiphu,
General Manager of Government and International Relations of the South Africa Post Office, Mr Shadrack Ganda,
Representatives and delegations from all CCPA member nations,
Our partners in business and organised labour,
Distinguished guests and delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen:
It is an immense pleasure and privilege for me to welcome visitors to the province, a cross section of postal administrators present here as well as all delegates to this historical Commonwealth Countries Postal Administrators (CCPA) Conference today.
We must register our gratitude and pride from the outset then that in the entire 17-year history of the CCPA, the South African Post Office (SAPO) today becomes the first African postal administration to host this mammoth imbizo of Commonwealth postal nations.
I am especially delighted that the history being made today happens here at Sun City in the platinum province, hence my pleasant task of welcoming all delegates, visitors and postal administrators from across the Commonwealth into the North West province and in South Africa.
Writing about the African people’s disdain for uncertainty and their desire to defeat a chaotic world, 35-year old contemporary Kenyan writer and winner of the Caine Prize in Literature, Binyavanga Wainaina offers this prose:
“If there is a miracle in the idea of life it is this; that we are able to exist for a time in defiance of chaos. We live the rest of our lives with the utter knowledge that there is something deliberate, a vein in us that transports everything into place if we follow the stepping stones of certainty.”
I believe that the post office forms an essential component of the social and economic fabric of our country and of our developing continent of Africa.
Who among the delegates here cannot remember the glee and zeal with which we fetched and dispatched letters from the post office, ensuring continued communication with our distant relatives and loved ones?
For us as Africans the post office has been an indispensable means of communication and a critical source of essential services like pensions, grants, identity documents as well as other important transactions that are instrumental in the lives of citizens.
However, that we meet today in the 21st century, Africa’s century, means that the role of the post office has evolved considerably to take into cognisance the advances in technological development generally and the ever dynamic nature of our societies and their challenges in particular.
Among other things this means that more than ever before the post office stands a bigger chance to provide our rapidly growing economy with integrated solutions in the crucial postal areas of mail, logistics, communications and government services.
So it is that in South Africa of today the post office is government’s preferred partner in service delivery and it forms the biggest service network with more than 2 000 outlets nationwide, spanning all nine provinces. This unparalleled network allows our post office to reach the urban and rural citizen located in the most remote parts of our country, enabling them to access such government services as grants, pensions and various critical documents like identity documents (IDs) and driver’s licences.
In addition to this our post office like the rest of the Commonwealth, faces the ever increasing challenges of technological substitution of globalisation, increasing pressures of de-regulation, growing customer expectations as well as general competition.
As this year’s theme of “Showcasing Africa” suggests, this Conference of Commonwealth Postal Administrators (CCPA) must pay particular attention to issues affecting African postal administration while looking to establish further joint venture partnerships with the major trading partners of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Over the next few days, we will particularly be interested in interacting in full with the close to hundred member nations of CCPA including Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean, the continent of Africa and the Diaspora.
In these interactions we will be looking to engage each other robustly around challenges of enhancing postal technology, critically examining the current landscape of postal operators, postal development and future challenges.
I am certain that all of us are eager to exploit this historical CCPA conference as a forum to discuss matters of mutual interest and facilitate the much-needed exchange of ideas and best practices among member nations.
While you are busy deliberating on all these important matters, I must also urge you not to ignore the ambience, the beauty and the hospitality of the North West province.
For how can any of you go home without imbibing yourself with the culture and heritage of the platinum province as manifested in its people, its rivers and valleys, its incredible wildlife and wealth of mineral resources?
You have all come to the province and the country in which as President Thabo Mbeki so eloquently put it, “we have conceded equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito.”
I have no doubt that when you leave this province at the end of the conference you will go on to become very important and trusted ambassadors of our province and our beloved country South Africa.
The ties that will be forged in this 14th CCPA conference will no doubt be cemented further as we prepare to host another first in Africa, the 24th Universal Postal Union Congress in Nairobi, Kenya in 2008.
Finally, let me once again welcome you to this our platinum province and our beloved country South Africa. May you have a resoundingly successful conference that will take all the existing member nations’ postal services to a higher pedestal of growth, efficiency and prosperity.
Through our post offices, let us defy chaos and create order and certainty as Binyavanga Wainaina says we are prone to do. Let us allow that vein in us that transports everything into place to reign supreme. Let us together build better societies, strong communities and prosperous economies through the services our post offices provide.
I wish you a fruitful Commonwealth Countries Postal Administrators Conference.
I thank you!
Issued by: Office of the Premier, North West Provincial Government
25 July 2006