Letters with feeling: The Post Office supports The National Schools Festival

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On Sunday, 1 July 2012, the Post Office was invited to St Andrew’s Preparatory School to speak to 220 children about letter-writing and the meaning of stamps, as part of their commitment towards the Schools Festival in Grahamstown. The Post Office mascot was also present at this presentation and gave each young student a postcard to post, either to their mom or dad, or even to themselves as a memento of this event.

The children pose with the Post Office mascot.

Eben van Zyl, branch manager Level A of the South African Post Office in Grahamstown, welcomed all the students, but especially those from Selborne College and Clarendon Girls High from East London, his old hometown. He explained that text messages have no feeling in them, as they are machine-generated, but a letter is done in your own handwriting, with a little bit of effort, but with love and feeling. A machine-generated text can never convey what you can see and read in somebody’s handwriting. Letters and birthday cards can also be stored and kept for years, as opposed to saved messages that clog your phone and are easily lost when you lose your phone. He then explained that our stamps also travel all over the world and are ambassadors of our country. They "speak" about our history, animals, plants, flowers, important heads of states like Nelson Mandela, and various other themes. They "speak" without saying a word; people can recognise them and where they are from, and can associate them with South Africa.

Eben van Zyl addresses the group.

Mr Van Zyl then asked how many students have bank  accounts and cell phones, and just about all the hands went up. He asked them what things are required to open an account and they stated that you need an ID document and proof of address. Part of the South African Post Office’s commitment is to create new addresses for the South African public, as millions of people are still without this basic requirement. The Post Office created 1,7 million new addresses last year. This means that 1,7 million people can now apply for a bank account and an ID, and be FICA- and RICA-compliant.

The Post Office mascot

The session with the students was closed off with pictures taken with the mascot.

Below is other basic information about the South African Post Office and what it is doing towards environmental impacts, commitments towards our youth, etc.

The SA Post Office in numbers

  • 0800020070: Crime-buster Toll-free Hotline Number
  • 0860 111 502: Customer Service Toll-free Telephone Number
  • 086 558 8224: Customer Service Toll-free Fax Number

General mail volumes

  • 5,3 million each working day
  • The South African Post Office has the largest footprint in South Africa: 1 400 fully-fledged post offices, 1 200 postal agencies in small villages.
  • 99,5 million transactions were performed in the previous financial year.
  • In addition to postage, its logistics arm offers general freight as well as freight and courier, through PX and XPS respectively.

Reducing environmental impact

  • Last year the Post Office planted 1 100 indigenous and fruit trees at schools all over South Africa. This is enough to offset more than 5% of its carbon emissions.
  • Most mail is delivered by postmen on foot and by bicycle. Their carbon footprint is practically zero.
  • With hybrid mail, the mail is printed at the facility closest to the delivery point.  This reduces transport distance and CO2 emissions.
  • The Post Office recycles 642 tons of paper per year and has reduced it paper usage by 40%. It has introduced recycling facilities at its head office for paper, plastic, glass and cans. This makes it easier for employees to recycle.
  • The Post Office reduced its fleet emissions by 3,4% last year. It was hoping to achieve a reduction of 2,5%.

Corporate social investment

  • It is the SA Post Office’s mandate to contribute positively to the communities within which it operates and the people it serves. One of the biggest and most important contributions is to ensure that they continually invest in sustainable projects. Examples of projects over the past financial year include The International Letter Writing Competition, Chairpersons’ Golf Day and children’s home refurbishment, as well as various community-based donations and handovers.
  • The SA Post Office is the driving force behind the address expansion project, providing 1,7 million South Africans with new addresses this year. These are people who are new clients to the SA Post Office, and can now also open bank accounts and comply with statutory requirements like FICA and RICA.


Eben Van Zyl

Branch manager

SA Post office


tel: 046-6362519

fax: 0867503459

e-mail: [email protected]

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