Saturday, January 16, 2016

Republic of South Africa 2015
World Post Day

ISSUE DATE: 9 October 2015
CIRCULATION: 50 000 sheets
STAMP/SHEET SIZE: 38 x 28.88 mm / 126 x 110.64 mm
 STAMP DESIGN: Sheila Collins

Every year, more than 150 countries celebrate World Post Day in a variety of ways, and South Africa is no exception. It has become customary for the South African Post Office to issue commemorative stamps in celebration of World Post Day. This year, a set of five stamps designed by Peter Sibanda, will look back at some important historic events in the long history of the Post Office, and also at how it has grown and where it is going.

World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern.

It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969. Since then, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. The purpose of World Post Day is to create awareness of the role of the postal sector in the lives of people and business, as well as its contribution to the social and economic development of countries. The history of the South African Post Office can be traced back over 500 years. In 1500, the captain of a Portuguese ship, Pêro de Ataíde, placed a letter in a milkwood tree at Mossel Bay.

He reported the sinking of three ships in his fleet, including that of Bartholomew Dias, during a heavy storm over the Atlantic Ocean Portuguese ships regularly stopped at Mossel Bay to take on fresh water, and three months later, the letter was found and delivered to Portugal. It was the first of many similar postal deliveries.

During 2015, various anniversaries relating to postal delivery will be celebrated. These include 200 years since the mail boat service was introduced. 110 years since the Cullinan diamond was posted using ordinary mail.

1. Mail boat and Springbok Air Service
In 1815, a mail boat service was introduced between England and the Cape Colony for the first time. The first mail boat, the Eclipse took 114 days to reach Cape Town. In 1925, the first steam ships were commissioned, which covered the same distance in 58 days.

By 1945, when aviation had become an established mode of transport, the Springbok Air Service, which included the first airmail parcel service, was introduced between the Union of South Africa and Britain.

2. Cullinan Diamond posted using ordinary mail
In 1905, the biggest diamond in the world, which was mined at Cullinan near Pretoria, was posted to London as an ordinary, registered mail and reached its destination safely! This was probably one of the biggest risks ever taken by the Post Office, but it paid off. The diamond was given as a gift to King Edward VII and now forms part of the British crown jewels. Experts have valued it as being worth more than £200 million.

3. Electronic services
In 2002, history was made in a world first for the Post Office, when former President Thabo Mbeki electronically signed the Electronic Communication and Transaction Act into law. This was the first Act in the world to be signed into law by an electronic signature. The signing was enabled using the Post Office authentication service. The Act defines the Post Office as the ""preferred authentication service provider"" of identification procedures necessary for the issuing of advanced electronic signatures.

4. Motor vehicle licensing
From 2013, motor vehicle owners were able to renew their motor vehicle licences at selected post offices in five of the nine provinces. Motor vehicle license renewals can now be done at most post office branches throughout

the country. To do so, motor vehicle owners only need to take their MVL2 forms and a copy of their ID with the appropriate fees to their participating post office.

5. Parcel service
The Post Office offers both domestic and international parcel services. Track and trace services make the parcel services a safe method of sending goods and merchandise, while reasonable postage rates, which are less than courier rates, are among the many benefits of using the SA Post Office's parcel services. 

Stamp images and description thanks to South African Post Office

South African Post Office COLLECTORZPEDIA