BotswanaPost revives home delivery project despite lukewarm reception

BotswanaPost is reportedly reviving its multimillion pula home mail delivery project. Initially piloted five years ago, despite the pilot has been met with a lukewarm reception from end-users.

Since the pilot launched, many of the 7, 000 or so mailboxes BotswanaPost installed at Block 7 and 8 are collecting dust as they remain unused and in some cases, vandalised. Apparently, Batswana are sticking with the post office as their preferred method of mail delivery. BotswanaPost officials told Mmegi’s BusinessWeek that during the pilot,  uptake for the service during the pilot was low and gradually declined during the pilot run. Parcel/package mail volumes, however, were found to spike during the period.

“This finding is aligned to the current rise in e-commerce, mail being Express Mail Service and parcels/packages,” officials said in an emailed response this week.

“Currently, mail delivered to Block 7 and Block 8 averages 200 deliveries a month.”

The officials said BotswanaPost was now focusing on rolling out the project countrywide using a different model, which incorporates the findings of the pilot. Unlike the pilot where homes received mail for free, the countrywide roll out will have cost implications for the consumer.

“BotswanaPost is finalising the costing of this service and this will be communicated to residents and future customers soon.

“Customers will be expected to provide their own mail receptacles as the current ones were provided for purposes of the pilot project,” the parastatal said.

Critics of the home mail delivery project said BotswanaPost was testing the service at a time letters and post mail were at an all-time low due to modern technology becoming more popular. Findings from the pilot concluded that most of the mail delivered comprised e-commerce and parcels appears to confirm criticism that the service would be underused and not value for money. 

YourBotswana view

I have always said Batswana are creatures of habit and fear change. II have always said Batswana are creatures of habit and fear change. I mean the heart-thumping, pits pouring with sweat, splitting headache-inducing stress type of fear! For all our protestations about the severe lack of jobs and a passion for a good moan about slow service and long queues (justifiably so!), at the slightest whiff of change, we break out in rivers of sweat!

Rejecting mail being delivered straight to our doorstep is very symptomatic of a nation that has always feared change and clearly still does. Mention any development that deviates away from our norm and we go up in arms. It’s truly mind blogging! What’s particularly strange for me, is that amid all this, very, very few will ask the relevant questions such as what does this entail? What will it cost me? How do I stand to benefit? Can you break it down for me so I can understand? There’s never any of that. 

Critics of the home mail delivery project claiming letters are at an all time low because of the advent of  modern technology need to wake up to the fact that not everyone, not even in Gaborone can afford Botswana’s extortionate internet fees. Besides, there are still letters being sent out such as bills, that still need collecting. 

Batswana simply shoot from the hip and reject any anticipated plans to introduce new technology to improve their lives. Interestingly, the very same people will be the first to complain about the status quo, attacking the government for not doing enough for them. It’s almost as if because we enjoy complaining so much, we’d rather wallow in the dark ages just so we can carry on moaning about service delivery. President Masisi and his government, in their quest to move Botswana forward through their 4IR efforts, have their work cut out!

We at YourBotswana commend BotswanaPost for pressing ahead with its plan to roll out the project in spite of people not biting. Sometimes I believe as a nation, we need to be dragged screaming and kicking, no questions asked into the 21st Century, because if it were left to us, we wouldn’t go anywhere fast. The funny thing is, while we do hate change, once it’s been implemented and we’ve adjusted, we are the first ones to whoop and holler about the fantastic new services!  

We’d also like to urge BotswanaPost to embark on and invest time and money on an awareness campaign. We first reported about this project five long years ago.  We’ve since wondered what had become of it and actually planned to seek their audience to request a progress update.  As is the norm in Botswana, things happen in an almost cloak and daggers manner. We’ve not seen any updates whatsoever. BotswanaPost would do well to break down into bitesize chunks the advantages of this anticipated service. Most Batswana will never have experienced it and need to be enlightened. 

Have you ever experienced firsthand a home delivered mail service? What do you think of BotswanaPost’s anticipated home delivery service? If you don’t like it, what exactly are your concerns? What about it makes you uncomfortable? Please share your views.

Advantages of mail delivered to your doorstep

  • Mail is put in your box, so you don’t have yo leave your home to check the mail
  • It’s convenient – you save precious time 
  • It may lead to more jobs
  • You don’t have to face the annoying queues
  • It would free up BotswanaPost staff to focus on more important tasks, improving productivity – faster, better service delivery
  • It would provide business opportunities for people around Botswana to source and sell letterboxes
  • It would create labour/work for letterboxes to be installed
  • Roadside craftsmen could construct stand-alone letterboxes and sell them

We love to talk about thinking outside the box, well this is thinking outside the PO Box.

Reference: http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=84731&dir=2020/march/0

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