Open day for Joburg West ac­count queries

The Star Early Edition - - METRO WATCH - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

JOBURG West res­i­dents, here’s your chance to get your billing prob­lem re­solved.

The City of Joburg has in re­cent weeks ad­mit­ted there’s a billing cri­sis. Mayor Her­man Mashaba has pub­licly apol­o­gised to res­i­dents and pledged that he would be in­ter­ven­ing to re­solve the cri­sis.

As part of the so­lu­tion, the city is host­ing open days in its dif­fer­ent re­gions over the next few months, where res­i­dents can have their queries per­son­ally at­tended to.

The first open day is to­mor­row at Marks Park Sports Club in Em­mar­en­tia. for ratepay­ers of re­gion B, which in­cludes Rand­burg, Cresta, Rose­bank, Em­mar­en­tia, West­cliff and the sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“These billing open days will be repli­cated in all re­gions of the city in the up­com­ing months, as the city tack­les the back­log of in­cor­rect ac­counts in its SAP IT sys­tem. Billing open days are de­signed to rec­tify anom­alies in mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts and help the city im­prove its cus­tomer data­base,” said the may­oral com­mit­tee (MMC) for fi­nance, Ra­belani Da­gada.

“There are count­less prop­erty own­ers who should be pay­ing for mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices, but are not do­ing so and we urge them to come for­ward so that we can rem­edy their billing is­sues,” the MMC said, adding that re­solv­ing the billing woes would also im­prove their rev­enue col­lec­tion.

The open days will give ratepay­ers a plat­form to in­ter­act with rev­enue front-line staff, who will as­sist them to re­solve or up­date their mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts, he added.

“This is also a chance for all stake­hold­ers to take up their con­cerns with se­nior man­age­ment in the city.”

Da­gada said the new mea­sures would also help to im­prove re­la­tions be­tween the metro and its ratepay­ers.

“We ex­pect ratepay­ers to come out in droves so that of­fi­cials can as­sist them to re­solve long-stand­ing billing prob­lems,” Da­gada said, adding that the ex­er­cise was also tai­lored to help ratepay­ers re­duce their mu­nic­i­pal debt.

The billing open days are also aimed at com­pil­ing an ac­cu­rate in­di­gent reg­is­ter, in­tro­duc­ing mech­a­nisms to im­prove billing and rev­enue col­lec­tion as well as im­prove the turn­around time for the res­o­lu­tion of queries.

The billing cri­sis be­gan when 16 in­de­pen­dent coun­cils amal­ga­mated to form the City of Joburg, some 17 years ago. When the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion up­graded its rev­enue-col­lec­tion data­base soft­ware to stream­line op­er­a­tions, the process was bun­gled, re­sult­ing in glitches dur­ing its roll­out.

The Star’s Metrowatch has for years been re­port­ing on the cri­sis and ob­served when new sys­tems were put into place, it only seemed to fur­ther com­pli­cate mat­ters.

“Cus­tomers be­gan re­ceiv­ing in­flated and in­ac­cu­rate mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts for rates and ser­vices. Re­sources mis­man­age­ment in the rev­enue depart­ment is also to blame for hav­ing per­pet­u­ated the cri­sis,” the MMC added.

This his­tor­i­cal prob­lem has since cre­ated a back­log in the op­er­a­tions of Joburg’s rev­enue depart­ment.

Go­ing for­ward, the city will con­duct a fre­quent au­dit of prop­er­ties and me­ters; en­force con­se­quence and per­for­mance man­age­ment, re­cruit skilled and qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als and im­ple­ment the SAP sys­tem suc­cess­fully.

Plans are afoot to es­tab­lish a “rev­enue nerve centre” to co-or­di­nate ef­forts and in­ter­ven­tions across the rev­enue value chain.

Pre­sen­ta­tions on how the city in­her­ited the billing cri­sis and its plans to fix it have been pre­pared for to­mor­row, in­clud­ing ex­hi­bi­tions by the coun­cil’s var­i­ous de­part­ments and mu­nic­i­pal en­ti­ties.

Ex­hi­bi­tions by mu­nic­i­pal en­ti­ties will fo­cus on ser­vices of­fered by the city in­clud­ing so­cial de­vel­op­ment, emer­gency man­age­ment ser­vices, Pik­itup, Joburg Mar­ket; Joburg Wa­ter, Joburg metro po­lice depart­ment, Jo­han­nes­burg Roads Agency, City Parks and Zoo, and City Power.

All cor­po­rate ac­count hold­ers and ratepay­ers who are 60 days or more in ar­rears or have a query on their ac­count are urged to at­tend the open day.

Ar­rive early and have all the rel­e­vant doc­u­men­ta­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.