Joburg is taking a proactive approach to challenges within its billing system, with an unexpected visit by the mayor to the relevant departments among its strategies.
EXECUTIVE Mayor Amos Masondo paid an unexpected visit to the City’s revenue offices and call centre on Wednesday 2 February to ascertain whether progress was being made in the billings issues Joburg is facing.
Action is being taken against those found doing wrong, says executive mayor Amos Masondo (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Action is being taken against those found doing wrong, says executive mayor Amos Masondo (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)The unexpected visit, to the revenue and customer relations management department in Thuso House in Braamfontein and the Call Centre in Roodepoort, was part of the City’s ongoing interventions to address billing concerns.
“We have acknowledged that some residents have been negatively impacted by actions or lack thereof by the municipality, its management and personnel,” said the deputy director of communications, Nthatisi Modingoane.
Disciplinary action is being taken against those found to have committed any wrongdoing, in an effort to demonstrate that everyone is held accountable.
Project Phakama is the City’s database and information technology system used to manage revenue and customer services. One of the reasons for the challenges is glitches with the interface between the billing system and the Deeds Office.
However, at a media briefing last week, the member of the mayoral committee for finance, Parks Tau, pointed out that it was more of a management problem than a system malfunction. This was why the City was instituting disciplinary action against guilty parties; it was an effort to improve accountability and eliminate negligence and incompetence.
“The City has learned valuable lessons from the current situation,” Modingoane said.
These include: the need for transparency and a free flow of information to stakeholders and the public; the need for technical systems to be complemented by building the capability of staff and ensuring that changes in management are embraced; the need to improve on management controls; and the need to improve internal communications within City departments.
“Please bear with us,” Modingoane asked, “as we continue to engage with all stakeholders, the different spheres of government, the ratepayers and the general public to find a lasting solution.”
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