City of Jo­han­nes­burg

Finweek English Edition - - Something Els - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

YOU’D THINK IF ANY­ONE knew the cor­rect ad­dress to reach you at it would be the city you live in and pay rates to – but ap­par­ently not. The City of Jo­han­nes­burg, seem­ingly has no idea I live in it – or at least is con­fused about how to get in­voices to me. In­stead of find­ing me, a seem­ingly bet­ter op­tion is hand­ing my over­due bill to a group of thug lawyers it com­mis­sions to col­lect debts on its be­half.

Time to make some phone calls. The first is to the lawyers to in­form them I ac­knowl­edge the debt and will set­tle it in full but not via their dodgy busi­ness.

With the thugs out of the way, it’s time to call the city and, em­bar­rass­ingly, tell them where I live. It would have been nice to know I owed them money. Call one ends in fail­ure, as the phone sim­ply rings for min­utes be­fore dis­con­nect­ing. Though call two reaches some form of call cen­tre af­ter 18 min­utes of hold­ing I grow tired (and old) and hang up.

Call three is a hit. A jacked-up rep­re­sen­ta­tive an­swers the phone, checks my out­stand­ing bal­ance, pro­vides me with bank­ing de­tails and tells me to fax the city with de­tails of my “new” ad­dress. She even wishes me a nice day.

My re­turn to le­git­i­macy with my beloved city is now com­plete and I’ve dodged the sharks.

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