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Post Office launches e-registered mail

“Appropriate for Aarto, e-toll, National Credit Act notices.”


The Post Office (Sapo) on Wednesday launched its electronic registered mail service. This service is fully compliant with legislative requirements to provide a secure alternative with complete audit trail, to the lawful service of notices by “physical” registered mail.

It will enable customers to send single or bulk registered mail any time, day or night from any device wherever they are, and get proof of delivery that will stand up in court, Sapo head of commercial Nkosinati Tolom told stakeholders.

At R16.00 per single item mailed, it will be cheaper than its physical counterpart (R25.00) and could be used for the service of notices (traffic fines) in terms of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto), the National Credit Act (NCA) and e-toll debt.

Sapo CEO Mark Barnes said embracing new technology is one of the pillars of the new Post Office and e-registered mail is the first of many products that will be brought to market in the process of replicating existing postal services electronically.

He said Sapo is the only entity by law allowed to deliver registered mail that is accepted in court. Its clients will now be able to send e-registered mail to recipients all over the world at reduced cost

Sapo will continue to roll out new services, he said. It is the owner of “the last mile” and nobody could replicate the entity’s footprint, especially in rural areas. Sapo will embrace the delivery of parcels ordered by e-commerce as well as banking services and government-related services like the delivery of ID cards and vehicle licenses.

Barnes said in future “you will be able to transact most of your life” at the local Post Office.

Sapo is weeks away from raising the capital that will get it onto its feet again, he said.

Customers will have to register to use the e-registered mail and will receive a digital post box for life with some digital storage upfront and an option to purchase more. Sapo is still working with partners to bring the cost of storage down.

There is an Outlook or Lotus Notes plug-in available.

Recipients will be flagged that registered mail is awaiting delivery and then have to register to ensure that he/she is in fact the intended recipient.

Customers who send bulk e-registered mail will be billed very seven days, while businesses and individual users can use several upfront payment methods, including credit and debit cards and an electronic wallet that can be topped-up.

The new service has huge financial benefits for entities like the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) that has to serve millions of notices on alleged infringers per annum, since it will be “instant and inescapable”, Barnes said. The RTIA administers the Aarto Act.

Sapo is in discussions with the South African National Roads about this and other services and is close to an agreement, Tolom said. He said the new service will facilitate easy notification of the e-toll demands Sanral sends to road users.

Barnes said e-registered mail cannot achieve what one cannot achieve in the physical world, but it will be more difficult to hide electronically. “If someone hides forever from email, there is nothing I can do.”

Andre van Jaarsveldt, CEO of LegalServe, a software service provider specialising in legal document exchange, says the up to 40 000 documents LegalServe sends by registered mail every month, will in future be sent largely by e-registered mail.

He said the judicial fraternity is conservative, with introductions to technology being met with “slow paced” reaction. “Regardless of the introduction of the Electronic Communications Transactions Act (ECTA), and the recent amendments to the Uniform Court Rules as well as the Magistrates Court Rules legislatively providing for the electronic service of court processes, our courts are slow to embrace this change.”Matters are often being dismissed due to non-compliance with procedural aspects of service as well as notification, he said. “This, however, is about to change.

“ECTA makes provision that any law, which mandates a person, including a public body and probably a juristic person, to send a document or information by registered or certified post, as we traditionally understand it, is satisfied if such document or information is sent to and registered at Sapo and sent by Sapo to the electronic address that the sender provides. That includes, among others, notices in terms of the NCA and Aarto

“This accordingly has the potential to completely revolutionise the disenchanted judicial approach toward the technological revolution,” he said.

With the introduction of e-registered mail the functionality, efficiency and credibility of delivering such notices significantly increases, whilst the cost associated therewith decreases, Van Jaarsveldt said.

“The inner workings of the system are intricate, yet the outcome is simple: Sapo receives your electronic notice whilst registering the notice internally. Sapo then sends the notice to the electronic address of the intended recipient. They guarantee an audit report which may be represented to a presiding officer as substantial evidence that compliance has been met with the provisions of the relevant legislation for which the report is being presented. Over and above this, you can be assured that the excuse of non-delivery cannot be used when such a report is generated.”

Cautious welcome

Non-governmental lobby group Justice Project SA (JPSA) said in a statement it “cautiously welcomes” the new e-registered mail launched by the South African Post Office insofar as it applies to the prescripts Aarto Act which requires service by registered mail”.

“Whilst our stance may come as a huge surprise to some, we are of the view that this service will greatly benefit those individuals and organisations who wish to and have repeatedly tried to comply with the provisions of the Aarto Act”, the organisation said.

“In particular, businesses of all sizes will finally be able to exercise their option to nominate the driver within the prescribed 32 days from service of an Aarto infringement notice.

“There is also a huge advantage to motorists, who instead of repeatedly being caught ‘speeding’ on a particular road where speed limits have often been arbitrarily reduced without any notice, would receive notification within a significantly shorter period – instead of building up scores of speeding fines before becoming aware that they were even transgressing.

“eRegistered mail may therefore be of benefit to both, law enforcement agencies and some errant motorists, fleet operators, etc. who have access to the internet and email and choose to opt-in to this service. It will not however replace ‘normal’ registered mail for those who don’t,” the JPSA said.

The organisation is currently challenging the use of secure mail by Aarto-issuing authorities, including the Johannesburg and Pretoria metro police services, to post infringement notices (traffic fines). JPSA alleges that this does not comply with the legislative requirement to use registered mail, be it the conventional or electronic version.

JPSA said the launch of e-registered mail does not affect its court case and it has received notice of intention to oppose from five of the seven respondents.

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Ag foeitog Mnr barnes, ek sal bly wees as ek ook mag rook wat u rook. Die Poskantoor is in sy peetjie in, en ek is bevrees julle gaan nie e-aanmanings of boetes by my afgelewer kry nie. Ek daag u dus uit!!!

“SAPO will embrace the delivery of parcels …”

Unless Barnes works out a way of sending parcels by email, they’re still going to end up in Soweto.

Transacting at the Post Office. How quaint.

And when their system is hacked or when their staff are on strike? Or if you as an individual do not register to receive the service?

Citizens of this country should decline providing e mail addresses, and cellphone numbers to parties who ask for this information. Here we go with another round of senseless spam

so they want too keep the post office functional only to ensure that ” summonses ” are delivered ?

“…Barnes said in future “you will be able to transact most of your life” at the local Post Office…” You will also spend most of your life in their queues.
Poor show that the first thing they dream up is to do with delivering summonses and e-toll notices. Something positive for the man in the street would have been a better start.

Certainly will not be giving them my email address!

So our Post Office is now using email. Well done, to catch up at last.

ja no well fine

So they want to do this but cannot even keep their parcel tracking website up and running


The mind boggles!

“…embracing new technology… ” e-mail is ‘new’ technology??? WTF? It’s been around for at least as long as Barnes has been alive.
R16 bokkies per item e-mailed? Good grief! 0.16c I might believe, maybe.
“…transact most of my life…”? Nah, the less time I spend interacting with .gov or banks or SAPO or the cops or any ‘authority’ the better. My drinking time is precious.
I regularly give out my email and tel number with 1 or 2 digits transposed – the fat fingers of the, ah, individual behind the counter will guarantee mistakes will be made…

So how will we FICA or RICA an email adress?

Outlook can give an delivery report that an email was sent to a specific adress, even a read report that show the email was opened- why can this be used as proof something was delivered.

And how can they prove the email address they send so to is indeed my email?

When the post office worked, snail mail had a very good chance of getting to an address even if the address was misspelled.

This is not the case with email i’m afraid

I just dont understand this. We first break the back of the postal services through strikes now its a mess. Now everyone running around to fix it? Till next strike then back to the beginning. The starting point would be to get the Unions in and rather let them run the postal service as they broke it…..All just little bit too late

wow … usually I enjoy the constructive debate on these threads but FFS …. people moan about the SOE’s ad nauseum and then when positive steps are made to fix something that is utterly ¬”£$¬”$¬, everyone becomes an expert.

how about we applaud the positive steps and see how this pans out.

seriously guys …. is it just me and multiple aliases of robertinsydney posting on these threads !!!?!?!?!??!!??!?

The Post Office is beyond repair, just like some other SOEs.
The customer base that they chased away by striking will never return, they have found far more reliable means of communicating.
The experienced staff at the PO that lost their jobs due to gross mismanagement will never return either.

In normal circumstances I would agree with you @bertie. But in this instance the PO has decided that their first priority is to satisfy the big client – government – by setting up systems that will help the authorities get through a mess of their own creation. If the Aarto Act insists on the use of registered mail, then change the Act – it can’t be that difficult. The “man in the street” who is the target of just about every appalling government decision gets nothing out of the revamped PO. I personally detest e-tolls and will never pay them. So do a lot of people – refer to the OUTA site in its original form. Although there may be “plans” to assist in such areas as acting for Home Affairs etc, why could this not be done in parallel with e-registration? I’ll bet my bottom dollar that Barnes has been under political pressure to sort out yet another of the government’s cock-ups, without any benefit for the ordinary citizen.

Ag shame, the PO didn’t focus on the details. So proof to me beyond any shadow of a doubt that you have emailed me at my web-based Yahoo email service to come and collect my sanral notification.

Just as multiple people are at a physical address, there are multiple people using PO Boxes and multiple people using an email, address. This has NO validity in law.

Next point: the AARTO system has been dysfunctional for about twenty years; the developer is still being paid with taxpayers money; they have never got the demerits points system set up. And now the post office wants to perpetuate what has NEVER worked, and what has been shown to not work, decades ago?

Now the Post office wants to regain customers by THREAT? So the government cannot get people to pay dues and the Post Office is being conned into attempting to recover this? It was tried in other countries in the fifties and sixties, with total failure and embarrassment to the postal services, in many countries. So now we are half a century behind, trying the same embarrassing things where other government departments rip off the postal service.

Talk about stupidity… sorry Mark but you’ve been conned. By your sponsors, the government.

End of comments.





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