The South African Post Office (SAPO) has awarded a tender to have eRegistered mail services provided to SA's more than 51 million citizens.
SAPO spokesperson Johan Kruger has confirmed that a tender for an eRegistered mail solution has been awarded to Escher Group Holdings, a provider of outsourced, point-of-sale software to the postal industry.
Escher says its solution, RiposteTrEx, is a secure, scalable, high-performance platform for "digital correspondence".
According to Pauline Kenna, director of digital services at Escher Group, the company has focused a lot of time and investment into understanding the rapidly changing communications landscape, and how citizens are looking to be connected in a secure and accessible manner.
Kruger says the eRegistered mail solution forms part of the SAPO e-business roadmap. "Businesses, government and the citizens will now have a consolidated, secure and trusted platform to exchange and store digital communications and transactions, which also - at the same time - complements the current postal communications in a country that still experiences a huge digital divide."
He explains that consumers will in future have access to a single "secure electronic post box" for all their electronic communications, without having to worry about security, spam, storage and retrieval of their digital communications.
The project will form part of existing SAPO e-solutions such as hybrid mail, where SAPO receives data from large customers for their bulk communications. The post office routes these communications electronically to decentralised print sites around the country that print, envelope and post these communications from sites closest to the addressee. SAPO can cater for mobile delivery, e-mail and electronic bill presentment and a payment channel delivery to complement the physical delivery of mail.
"More information about the eRegistered mail solution will be made available during the course of 2014," says Kruger.
In June, SAPO officially joined the information security game after launching its Trust Centre. The centre provides, among others, digital certificates that identify a server (SSL certificates), or an individual (personal certificates) to encryption keys and identification data to protect electronic communications or transactions from been intercepted by unauthorised parties, to authenticate the user and to digitally sign communications. The strongest authentication certificates also allow online users to communicate and transact online with clear legal status.
"The post office's electronic bill presentment and payments platform makes it possible for businesses to enable their customers to access their bills and statements online via their own Web sites, Internet banking Web sites, mobile apps, or post office branches," says Kruger. "It allows for quick, real-time validated payments."