The Postal Services is probably one of the oldest public services in Botswana, having been established in 1875 by the London Missionary Society. In those days, pairs of “runners” carried mail between various points on a stretch from Bulawayo up to Mafikeng. Historical records indicate that these runners (men on foot) carried up to 15542 postal items of mail per annum. Subsequently, the post used the train and road transport contractors to deliver mail until the late 1990’s when the Post acquired its own fleet of delivery vehicles and continued to expand the mail delivery network.
The Post evolved over the years into the Bechuanaland Protectorate Postal Services. At independence it was transformed into the Department of Posts and Telegraphs with 121 Post Offices and 43 Postal Agencies. The portfolio of services also included the Post Office Savings Bank. At this time the Post was at the centre of communication, with the letter perhaps being the fastest mode of communication after the telephone, which was however only accessible to the privileged few. The Post was also at the centre of commerce, as most purchases were mail order sources mainly from the Republic of South Africa.
Since independence, the Post has grown in leaps and bounds, with three entities that were under the aegis of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs being incorporated as parastatals due to the ever-changing market driven needs. The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and Botswana Savings Bank were incorporated into parastatals in 1980 and 1982 respectively and the BotswanaPost in 1989. At incorporation, the modes of communication were changing, accelerated development of telecommunications was taking place and the phone had become more and more accessible to the ordinary citizen. Emerging technologies such as Email and internet services and later cellular phones, all followed, reducing the use of letter as a preferred mode of communication.
The post is now looking at harnessing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to stimulate communication particularly in the rural areas as well as business growth on other products like parcel mail and money transfer, which are driven by electronic capabilities.