Billing crisis: ‘One hand didn’t know what the other was doing’

2012-02-23 13:49

City of Joburg departments responsible for resolving the billing crisis did not know what the other was doing, the National Consumer Tribunal heard today.

National Consumer Commission legal adviser Jeremiah Modiba told the hearing that the city’s customer services was addressing complaints and visiting affected properties to read meters while the legal division was obtaining default judgments against residents and cutting off services.

“The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing,” Modiba said.

He was the commission’s first witness at the tribunal.

He said the municipality initially admitted error but later referred the matter to its entities, City Power and Johannesburg Water.

The city’s legal division challenged the commission’s jurisdiction and mandate to force the municipality to fix the billing crisis.

The city made six of its own officials available to settle customer complaints after the commission met former city manager Mavela Dlamini in April.

The commission received more than 200 complaints on the City of Joburg’s billing crisis and issued 45 compliance notices, forcing the municipality to pay R15 million in fines for failing to resolve the billing crisis.

The city wants the tribunal to set aside the compliance notices.

The hearing continues.

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