Service delivery tops hotline calls

2012-08-04 13:55

President Jacob Zuma’s free hotline is becoming the first port of call for citizens who are unhappy with service delivery.

The hotline, which is operated by 38 agents who work in shifts at two call centres, receives anything between 10 000 and 20 000 calls per month.

Officials say most of the calls are about servicedelivery, while a small percentage are about incidents of alleged corruption and even compliments.

Bernadette Leon, an outcomes facilitator in the performance monitoring and evaluation department, says even correspondence sent to the president about servicedelivery is logged and allocated a case number.

Zuma’s private office monitors social media and decides which issues need to be referred to the hotline as cases.

The complaints are then referred to the relevant departments, provinces or municipalities to be resolved.

While the hotline has resolved an average of 84% of the 135 000 cases that were logged with it, the performance of national departments, provincial departments and municipalities is uneven.For example, provinces and municipalities only solved just over 53% of their cases.

The Eastern Cape resolves only 35% of its complaints, while the Western Cape resolves 99%.The calls account for between R9-million and R12-million of the hotline’s R30-million budget.

Leon adds that they are embarking on “intensive monitoring of departments and provinces that are not complying”.

Most of the issues reported involve servicedelivery, such as housing, social grants, water and electricity.

Mosa Sejosingoe, the chief director in charge of the hotline, says the facility cannot help citizens who want the government to change its policies to deliver what they want.

“We cannot change plans because a citizen wants a house (to be built) in their own area.”

But the president’s hotline does try to help, even when issues logged are personal.

“Sometimes they call with personal issues. And when you dig deeper sometimes, you find that a personal issue is in fact a government issue. For example, a case of a boyfriend who is abusing his girlfriend.

“In some cases, we would contact people in banks and private companies, and ask them to help,” says Sejosingoe.

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