City of Joburg has ‘learnt lessons’ from billing crisis

2011-02-02 14:51

The City of Johannesburg on Monday said it had learnt “valuable lessons” from the current billing problem and had asked for patience.

“Please bear with us. We are all in this important work together,” said spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane.

All affected parties, the government, ratepayers and the public would be engaged “to find a lasting solution”.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka said yesterday that the problem, which had resulted in residents receiving inflated bills and others having services cut off, would be investigated.

Shiceka met Gauteng local government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi on Friday to get his understanding of the problems highlighted by the media and residents, who had called and written to the minister’s office.

Mmemezi was given until February 18 to present Shiceka with a full report and a plan to resolve problems with billing systems in Gauteng, particularly those in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo, who recently said there was no crisis, made a surprise visit today to the city’s revenue department and its call centre.

“Disciplinary measures are being taken [against] all employees and management for any wrongdoing and unbecoming behaviour. All of us must be held accountable,” the statement read.

Modingoane, however, added it was “wrong and malicious” for the media to continue claiming that Masondo had said there were no problems.

“All we said was the situation is not turning for the worse, and provided evidence indicating why this is so.”

The problem was attributed to the implementation of the R580 million Project Phakama, which is intended to improve the city’s billing system.

There was a need to beef up management controls, improve internal communications and train staff.

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