Every South African deserves to have their own postal address and should also have access to e-mail, delegates to the ANC's policy conference in Midrand have recommended.
Jessie Duarte, the chairwoman of the ANC's national executive committee on communications, told journalists late Thursday night it was agreed that a national address system be established, while "everyone should have access" to the post office.
Delegates also agreed it was "time to move into an era where South African households have an e-mail address", Duarte said. New set-top boxes needed for the country's migration from analogue to digital television needed to have the capacity not only for entertainment but also e-mail, she said.
The ANC also wants to make greater use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Mxit to get in touch with the country's youth, who make up the bulk of the population. "If we can't we will lose the opportunity to influence or be influenced by young South Africans," said ANC national spokesman and NEC communications committee member, Jackson Mthembu.
Responding to whether or not it was financially sustainable for the government to continue subsidising unprofitable post offices serving remote country areas, former cabinet minister and NEC communications committee member Pallo Jordan emphatically rejected denying citizens access to this most basic service on the basis of cost.
It would be “ridiculous” to say that “because someone lives in Pofadder” they should be denied a postal service and tantamount to saying everyone should move to cities.
“Not everybody lives in Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg,” Jordan said.
Jordan said that while he earned a relatively good income, the post office delivered mail to his home for free. But someone who earned far less than he did had to find the money to pay to rent a post box because they did not have a physical address.
No physical address made it difficult for people to access other services, such as bank accounts - as opening one required presenting a bill that showed where one lived, as opposed to a post box number.
Decisions taken in plenary sessions at the policy conference, which ends on Friday, will be referred back to branches before coming before delegates to the ANC's national conference in Mangaung at the end of the year for ratification. If endorsed there, they will feed into official ANC and government policy.