Mark Barnes Why do you want to make your life so difficult? What on earth? Are you doing, looking to buy the South African post office? Have you completely lost your mind?
Thank you very probably. But, you know, I think it’s become increasingly valid, what we were trying to do, which is to make the post office the accessible point of intersection between the informal and formal economies and, you know, COVID and various other things and the continuing demise of I’d say, sort of the old fashioned model that was the post office has gotten to a point where it’s really quite desperate now they can’t pay pension fund contributions and medical. And, and the, the uses and applications of a commercially irreplaceable infrastructure that has got access to a safe national payment system are increasing day by day. So forget about the name, post office, think commercial infrastructure, think access to computer think social grants is no longer being carried around in handbags, think cell phones thinks, you know, smart codes, and then find a place where they can all transact in a safe environment, you know, people need to go, there was their own TV, sorry, people need to go to a place where they know your name, okay. And that was the post office, you walk in there, you know, the person behind the counter, you’d be depositing your money there since you were charged. And now you’re transacting over the internet and collecting your EPR. So and paying your fine and you know, collecting your password from someone that you know that your internet your knows who you are, we need to personalize. And yet we need to live in the ether and the post office is that link.
But isn’t it an enormous headache? To get it to that point? Wouldn’t it just be beyond any normal amount of effort?
Not to the right partners. So I’m not looking to do this as me. I’m saying that there are big players internationally, primarily internationally, who would love so to speak to get their hands on this infrastructure, this distribution, this logistics capacity, that and the rights and obligations imbalance with the state? Okay? So if you look at, if you look at, if you start looking at the post office completely, you lose a daughter play, you know, what 18 million beneficiaries got 11 point 8 billion addresses, we’ve got 6 million depositors, I can go on and on. And we are an organ of state. So we can External Affairs, you got all these kinds of things you said, Who’s doing what with their daughter. And I would argue that for the target market of the post office, that daughter is not being treated virtuously, it’s been treated, exploited. Okay. And so we can go in there and make sure you haven’t got seven, you know, funeral policies, and that your medical aid scheme is valid, and that the loan that you’ve signed up for is not extraordinary, and so on. And I just think there’s a massive, virtuous business that’s in the interest of bringing, let’s talk about the divide, bringing a rural person into the digital
Are you serious about making this happen?
I put in an offer four months ago, and the reason it’s in the newspaper today, is because I think it deserves attention. And I didn’t get a response, although I’ve got acknowledgement of receipt. And so I think I’m not alone. I think there are lot of business people out there or business ideas out there or international and local partners out there who need to be paid attention to we need to stop being on opposite sides of this abyss and both thinking be right. We’re not right until we meet in the middle.
The offer you put in was it an acceptable offer? Or I mean, you had radio silence?
I don’t know. I mean, I think we all don’t trust each other yet. You know, I think there’s I think there’s a there’s sort of complexes on either side of this table, which which which should intersect so we need to go okay, is the water deep enough? Do you want to grab my hand and swim to the side? Okay, and the water running is deep enough.
I will come swimming with you. Mark Barnes, thank you very much for joining us here on the Nielsen Network.