13?882 calls, but not a single case from Mpimpa hot-line

2011-09-01 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for the disbandment of the “dysfunctional” Mpimpa Hot-line after the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department has spent more than R4 million on it.

Mpimpa has been running for over five years aimed at enabling the public to report wrongdoing by officers and officials of the department.

DA transport spokesperson, Radley Keys, said a parliamentary reply to the party yesterday has revealed that despite the 13 882 calls received by the call centre in the three-year financial period 2008 to 2011, not a single criminal or disciplinary case has been opened.

Keys labelled the hot-line a disaster. “The department has spent a total of R4,2 million over the past three financial years on a hot-line that is not producing results. The annual expenditure was R1 451 128,80 for 2008/2009; R1 351 131,60 for 2009/2010 and R1 447 178,20 for 2010/2011. It’s a great concern that the so-called ‘hot-line’ will not be discontinued and the MEC and his department are now looking at establishing a departmental call centre under which the hot-line will be integrated,” Keys said in a statement.

He said if Mpimpa was not producing results the obvious thing to do was to end “wasteful expenditure” by shutting it down immediately.

Keys said there were 10 employees for Mpimpa with a combined annual income of R1,257 million.

“These personnel also earn over-time, which during the 2010/2011 financial year, amounted to more than half a million Rand, with R345 690 paid out for overtime during the past financial year. In contrast, there was a dramatic fall-off in the number of calls received by the hot-line between 2008 and 2011.

During the 2008/2009 financial year, 6 750 calls were received, in 2009/2010 the number dropped to 4 147. In 2010/2011 there were just 2 985 calls received. These figures say it all. People are not using the hot-line because they don’t believe that their complaints will be followed up — a belief borne out by the department’s failure to ensure a single conviction,” he said.

He said the DA would submit further questions on the establishment of a new call centre to Transport MEC Willies Mchunu.

Department spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane, conceded that there were weaknesses in Mpimpa, but would not admit that the programme was a failure.

“By establishing a call centre we are trying to make improvements that will impact on the outcomes of the facility.

“I will have to investigate the allegations of the figures given by the DA, but we don’t see Mpimpa as a failure,” said Ncalane.

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