Ogaats helps you lodge mu­nic­i­pal com­plaints in just 30 sec­onds

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AMANDA KHOZA • amanda. khoza@wit­ness.co.za

A CAPE Town man has cre­ated an easy to use web­site that al­lows you to lodge a com­plaint to your mu­nic­i­pal­ity in just 30 sec­onds.

The frus­tra­tion of wait­ing to log a com­plaint at his mu­nic­i­pal­ity prompted Pierre du Toit to of­fer this al­ter­na­tive way of re­port­ing mu­nic­i­pal prob­lems in his area. He started the web­site Ogaats. co. za for all South Africans to anony­mously lodge com­plaints to their mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties from the com­fort of their own homes.

The 44- year- old busi­ness­man from Bel­lville in Cape Town said Ogaats. co. za started off as a pet project and has blos­somed into a tool that is aid­ing the rest of South Africa.

“We es­tab­lished www. ogaats. co. za in Novem­ber last year. What you do is take a pic­ture of your com­plaint such as a pot­hole, burst wa­ter­pipe or no street lights in your area. Af­ter tak­ing a pic­ture, go to the web­site, upload the pic­ture, put in your lo­ca­tion and then sub­mit it.

“Once sub­mit­ted, we will route the com­plaint to the spe­cific depart­ment at that par­tic­u­lar mu­nic­i­pal­ity. It takes less than 30 sec­onds to do this,” said Du Toit, adding he is reg­is­tered with over 226 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing ones in the KwaZulu- Natal.

“This is not just a busi­ness for me, this is a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity project and my way of giv­ing back,” said. Du Toit.

“You can re­port any­thing — bro­ken street lights, public toi­lets, man­hole cov­ers — and we will sub­mit the com­plaint for you,” he said, adding that he had re­ceived a pos­i­tive re­sponse from some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Although Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity was not aware of Ogaats, spokesper­son Thobeka Ma­fum­batha said this was an ex­cel­lent ser­vice.

“It [ this ser­vice] will as­sist in iden­ti­fy­ing some of the ar­eas we were not aware of,” said Ma­fum­batha, adding that the city was cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing ways of pro­vid­ing a bet­ter ser­vice to ratepay­ers.

She said she had no record of com­plaints re­ported by Ogaats yet, and that mu­nic­i­pal faults were re­ported through the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s call cen­tre.

The Wit­ness found an ex­am­ple, on Ogaats, of a com­plaint ad­dressed to the Msun­duzi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity where the com­plainant in­formed the city about a trench across a road that had not been filled in prop­erly af­ter road works.

In eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity there were sev­eral com­plaints con­cern­ing pot­holes.

eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity spokesper­son Tozi Mthethwa said the city “is not af­fil­i­ated with the Ogaats web­site nor do we have knowl­edge of the com­pany”.

In Novem­ber last year, the city launched the Mu­nic­i­pal Smart App pi­lot project, an app de­signed to fa­cil­i­tate in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and cit­i­zens. “The knowl­edge gath­ered from this pi­lot launch will lead to im­prove­ments that will be in­cor­po­rated into the Go- live ver­sion of the app,” said Mthethwa.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.ogaats.co.za

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