The South African Post’s revised exclusive license prepared by regulator ICASA was published on February 24 in the South African Official Gazette.
The revised license does not introduce major changes to SAPO’s obligations or commercial freedoms. The new provisions deal mainly with citizens’ access to the postal network. SAPO is mandated to open by 2014 100 new post offices in “under-served” areas, defined as localities where the local post office serves more than 10,000 citizens or people live more than 3 km away from the nearest office . A list of the new offices is appended to the License.
The creation of these post offices is part of a much broader Plan introduced by the Government in 2010 to improve citizens’ access to a series of government services. Specific priorities were given to the Departments of Basic Education, Health, Home Affairs, Labor, Justice, SA Police Service, and the Government Communication and Information System (which oversees local multi-service government access points called Thusong Service Centers).
The Plan provided that “Accessibility to Home Affairs services [would] be enhanced through the establishment of additional service delivery points and participating in Thusong Centres, SAPO and local government as well as refurbishment of existing service points”. SAPO was asked “ to set targets for reducing travel distances to service points”, to develop implementation plans, and to report on their execution.
SAPO’s revised license also mandates the Post to create between 2012 and 2014 1.7 million street addresses, and 700,000 new PO Box addresses. (SAPO is known to be a staunch promoter of street addressing as a key driver of social and financial inclusion.)
Revised SAPO license February 2012:http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=160519
2010 Government Plan to improve access to government services : http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=135370