News24

Billing glitches not a sign of crisis - mayor

2011-01-26 14:16

Johannesburg - Johannesburg's billing problems, which have resulted in residents receiving inflated bills and others having services cut off, are not a sign of a crisis, Mayor Amos Masondo said on Wednesday.

He attributed the problems to the implementation of a new IT project, Phakama, designed to improve the city's billing system.

"We empathise with residents currently experiencing difficulty and will ensure that the numbers affected are as minimal as possible," he told reporters in Braamfontein.

Masondo said the number of people owed refunds was no longer a "big issue" as it had been reduced.

The city's head of finance Parks Tau said implementation of the IT project had been completed and that problems with it were "interface-related".

Asked about the inflated bills, Tau explained the billing process in detail and said they should not have been issued and that investigations were underway to hold those responsible accountable.

Tau said the city was owed about R10bn and credit control processes were underway to collect the money.

Comments
  • Badger - 2011-01-26 14:23

    "Eish, Crisis?" "What Crisis? There is No Crisis",,,, "Pey yourr bill and we can talk lata, ne!!!"

      watalife - 2011-01-26 14:52

      If ever you wanted to see what a crisis looked like just look at this oke face. Once again another lying knob from the ANC who cant take responsibility for a mess up,integrity is something they think can be smoked.

      IandI - 2011-01-26 14:57

      It will only be crisis if there's a shortage of champagne at the mayor's year-end ball this year. Apparently that's the most important day of his year.Wish I had R2m to pay my rates bill for one month. Methinks we must make him sort out this mess and only pay his monthly salary later, howzat?

      Pinkpurse - 2011-01-26 14:59

      Haaa Haaa :)

      sainted - 2011-01-26 15:08

      Yes it is a crisis if a city has R 10 Billion outstanding. That money is needed to run the city or doesn't he know that? Of course, with the billing mess maybe they owe R 10 Billion - that would be a real crisis! Any City Mayor that does not listen to his citizens should be removed in disgrace. Who got the new software tender then....??? The basics of changing software include integration and testing before implementation. Sounds like this and user training were overlooked maybe?

      Vladimir.Len - 2011-01-26 15:45

      If you go onto facebook and look up "City of Joburg Top Officials All Need To Be Replaced", you can join this group. It is a petition calling for the replacement of all the fat cats that have let everything run into chaos. The billing problem has been ongoing for more than 6 months. It has very little to do with the IT project. An operations manager at Randburg told me that almost 99% of accounts are disputed and pending investigation!!! We need to act. Carte Blanche are running this story on Sunday. They would like to mention the petition but it needs to grow significantly!

      Zubair - 2011-01-26 16:06

      the billing system is a mess....they get everything wrong....has anyone ever tried calling the multi milllion rand call centre that the municipal goverment spends millions on every year upgrading.... "sorry we cant help you".."here is a referance number"..or "sorry pay up or we will cut you off" o...r...... just hold hold for dear life.... and the so-called people centers in town...forget it, nothing gets done...and when they do and decide to refund you...they dont calculate the refund amount on the initial cost..they half the refund amount (this was exposed in carte blance) has anyone really tried to calculate thier own bill based on the figures that are shown on the bill....you need to be rocket scientist do so.... Mr, masondo..wake up....its a mess and its getting worse.....the people are supposed to be helping out..are not educated enough to deal with the problems.... just to add so that everone knows.... a few ago when JHB introduced there new billing system..(which i might add won and award from SAP i think...they must be even bigger idiots to give an award to a system that failing), they wiped out everyones previous billing amounts and readings......simple as that... does that not tell you..that they want hide something! also before i end..if anyone is thinking of going to pre-paid..think twice...the municipality does tell anyone that the cost per unit is more expensive than a normal meter added to that cost of the meter...can be up 2 R5000,00 or more!

      SaintBruce - 2011-01-28 09:21

      Sounds like the problem lies between the chair and the keyboard! Or maybe the Chair and the phone handset! Maybe the installers told the staff it would work the same way as before but forgot to tell them how the old system worked either! Everyone who has a Billing problem should write letters addressed to Amos Masondo personally outlining their complaint and demanding customer satisfaction immediately. Once deluged by mail maybe then he will act?? I have a suspicion that call centre phones are deliberately NOT answered to skew the "account query stats". How can I say this? I tried for 2 years to call the Ekurhuleni call centre for a business query : " you are number 3 in the queue....number 1 in the queue.....call rings, picked up, PUT DOWN. Start again and hold for 20 minutes while being counted down to number 1 - SAME DRILL! Are you Jo'burg folks getting the same thing?

  • 2c - 2011-01-26 14:25

    Msondo you are a disgrace and in most counties an incompetent mayor would have gracefully bowed out of a job that is far above their intellect. If you would like to keep a grain of respect, resign your post!

      DeonL - 2011-01-26 14:38

      From all the complaints of the call centre, they need to fire the Supervisors and a few answering phones or the lack of answering phones.

      ray.romans - 2011-01-26 15:05

      If that were to cover all aspects of government, we would be left with very few.

  • Dougalan - 2011-01-26 14:25

    No, problem, what problem? De Nile is the standard ANC response to every problem, which very clearly exists.

  • uglybunny - 2011-01-26 14:26

    Fire him today, get your money back later.

  • MACH1000 - 2011-01-26 14:26

    He can afford paying a R90 000 bill for nothing and talk about it later. They will sort it out later, promise.

      DeonL - 2011-01-26 14:41

      Yes, this is a strange rule.

  • 1gascan - 2011-01-26 14:27

    Ever heard of a TEST or DEV environment before implementing a system this big directly into a PRODUCTION environment...? Of course, money is outstanding, but that is due to a crappy implementation of this "new system" and their "interface-related" issues, why should those who honour their payments month in and month out fork out extra for a stuff up out of their control...?

      Smaal - 2011-01-26 14:35

      Out of experience I can say that you can write and/or build the best system in the world but if monkeys are used to drive the interfaces then bananas will come out on the other side. I guarantee you it is NOT the system.

      josepheveleigh - 2011-01-26 14:37

      YOU NAILED IT! This very basics of any system development where you work with live data!!!!

      Paul - 2011-01-26 14:47

      Instead of fixing eNatis and the licence system, they decide to leave that one in ruins and have a bash at the next one. Oh hell, maybe 3rd time lucky. I am not IT so I cannot comment on a test envirinment, but if that is a norm then I will Guarantee you that the wanker who got the contract has never heard of it. He was herding slothes in Transkei, bought his matric, downlaoded his degree, filled in the tender app on toilet paper and this is the result.

      OP - 2011-01-26 15:09

      Another thing.... How can it be interface related??? Oh, I see, it is the idiot using the interface that is the problem. A bunch of underachievers that got the developing job are the problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      jansteyn78 - 2011-01-26 15:46

      @1gascan, eish, they got a gold accolade from the manufacturer of said software - http://www.joburg.org.za/content/view/5394/266/ Makes one wonder... And funny how these snake oil ERP companies always try to tell you that previously the systems wasn't integrated and out-of-box will be with their new multimillion system...

      philsoph3r - 2011-01-26 16:27

      @Smaal - what IT experience is this!!! The best system in the world is one that even monkeys can use - if ever anyone can create such software system, therein lies their genius! So clearly who ever got the tender either did not provide the best software OR the implementation of the project was clearly mis-managed. I wonder who got the tender for project management of this disaster??!!! The people driving the interfaces were supposed to be have participated in Testing before go-live (we call it customer acceptance test ATP), clearly this never happened, OR the software is just crap??!! Either way, don't blame the "interface drivers"....

      piet.strydom - 2011-01-26 20:10

      See the award from SAP was for "governance" and "on-time". Very seldomly does "good governance" translate into a good product. More often than not it is simply a way of cya from mgmt.

      1gascan - 2011-01-27 10:07

      @Smaal, I tend to agree with philsoph3r on this one! @josepheveleigh, I full agree! @Paul, that was a good laugh man! @jansteyn78, gold accolade, not even platinum! For a system this big there is no room for implementation error! No system is fool-proof or error-free, but it needs to be right at the top for something this big. I work for a global ERP enterprise (not SAP btw), and I can tell you now that there is no such thing as an "out of the box" implemenation - almost everything is bespoke these days. @philsoph3r, I fully agree, UAT (User Acceptance Testing) is one of the biggest components of a project before final sign-off - this was clearly ignored, or made irrelevant, or maybe just a few select employees had the honour of doing the "interface testing" :) @piet, I agree!

      k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-27 13:18

      @OP : I agree. 30% development is to build the actual interface and backend, the other 70% is making it idiot proof so your data is not corrupted.

  • mengelbrecht1 - 2011-01-26 14:28

    I wonder how HIS billing of services is?

  • stofsuier - 2011-01-26 14:29

    If it is not a crisis what is it then ?

      Andy49 - 2011-01-26 14:46

      According to these guys this is not a crisis, neither is any other poor/non service related issue because these monkeys have such low standards of living, that they wish to bring the rest of SA down to their level.

  • Barry - 2011-01-26 14:30

    Looking at the photo one can see that ther only 2 brain cells in that head, and all they know is "EISH"

      watalife - 2011-01-26 15:04

      If ever you wondered what a crisis would look like then check this wing nut's mug shot.

  • Ammie - 2011-01-26 14:31

    Ja P*&^Ohol Amos... jy hoef nie in die ry te gaan staan en dit uit te sorteer met 'n idioot nie... en te weet jy P^%$P teen donderweer nie!

  • ntombzam - 2011-01-26 14:32

    Eish i would say much but then i would be fired at work!

      2c - 2011-01-26 15:10

      Scared to say your say I see, please don't let them intimidatede you anymore. This is an anonymous forum. Tell us every juicy bit! I dare you.

      ntombzam - 2011-01-26 16:28

      Guys i work here and even i am pulling my hair(what's left of them) out. If you have been following this story you will know from the previous stories how we(employees) feel.

  • Thandi - 2011-01-26 14:35

    Viva ANARCHY Nepotism Corruption

  • DeonL - 2011-01-26 14:36

    In the amount of complaints and air time on Carte Blance it is a bigger problem than potholes, but they are probably also not a problem! To live 1 day without electricity is a crisis.

  • steve.dupreez - 2011-01-26 14:38

    You are such a half witt!! Dude - in the real world this constitutes a massive crises. You, you bloddy genius, have NO idea how much you are owed and how to collect it. In African accounting t's not a crises, it's GAAP . Assholes!!

  • BattyBoy - 2011-01-26 14:38

    6 months later, and I'm still waiting for an account to be opened following deeds transfer. After numerous phone calls, I've been told to call again in May and maybe the account will finally be in my name. In the meantime, the due rates and taxes accrue...

      1gascan - 2011-01-26 15:14

      I have the same problem BattyBoy!! Our place was officially transferred last year August (sectional title) and I am still awaiting rates and taxes bills... I also called and called and got told the same rubbish! I eventually went to the Florida Civic Center in JHB in December last year and was told by a polite Tannie behind the counter that I need to get a certified copy of the title deed from the bank and take that to them so they can "investigate further"... I decided that I will wait until they send me a bill - let the bills accrue, I will pay WHAT I can pay WHEN I can pay should I eventually receive a bill!

  • Alwyn - 2011-01-26 14:38

    Mbheki,"there is no crisis in Zim" Zuma"I had a shower after ater sex with HIV pos woman,i am safe Nqacula"There is no crime problems in South Africa Erwin"Escom has never been healthier" and ...and the list goes on of arseholes living in denial

      splasher - 2011-01-26 15:21

      lol..the new AIDS..Arseholes in Denial.

  • Mmakadikwe1 - 2011-01-26 14:38

    Our billing system is not in crisis at all good people,see,now we are being sued for providing a good service to our people.How on earth do you explain it Mr Masondo? If there is no crisis as you say why are we talking about crisis at all.It would'nt have been necessary for you to address this matter at all.Or are you saying there is no crisis because your billing has been carefully done knowing that someone will pay for the shortcomings should there be? Get your sorry face out of here Mr Mayor and start doing something about your mess please!

  • Paul - 2011-01-26 14:41

    I like the IT project - Phakama is this for f*k almal? It is definately f**ked up. Just so you all know I am one of the sods sitting with a 16k bill. The ou answering the phone at city power is a retarded monkey with less skill than a 15 line VBA program. I will drive my bakkie ove Amos's blue light brigate if ever I see it.

      bluerose499 - 2011-01-26 16:03

      IT project? What IT project? The billing system is just a small part of the Phakama Project that they have tried for YEARS to implement!!! How about Amos telling all of you just how long and how much money was wasted on this "customer liason" thingie! Hahahaha!

      bluerose499 - 2011-01-26 16:03

      IT project? What IT project? The billing system is just a small part of the Phakama Project that they have tried for YEARS to implement!!! How about Amos telling all of you just how long and how much money was wasted on this "customer liason" thingie! Hahahaha!

  • sonofagun - 2011-01-26 14:42

    A major sign of a crisis...being the level of education of the city's employees? Nothing is a big issue with these guys when it does not affect their own pockets..but if it does, they're quick to organize a strike / toy-toy!!!!!!!!!!

  • AndV - 2011-01-26 14:44

    Sane people cannot argue with the insane. Show me a Local Municipality that has not been ripped and cleaned out in this country! It is a disgrace. To say it is not a crises... Can't we invite some one neutral to do an audit of local government in this country. The Mayor is not worth the name.

      Dougalan - 2011-01-26 15:12

      I don't live there but I believe the DA-led municipalities in the Cape work pretty well. Which of course irks the ANC like hell and they will employ any dirty trick possible to make the Cape look bad. Easier than trying to fix your own monumental cock-ups.

      Peter.James.Merrington - 2011-01-27 18:17

      Cape Town, since the DA regained it from Nomaindia Mfeketo and the ANC, who were mired in massive corruption that is still being investigated. A modest proposal to all in Johannesburg - do everything you can to canvas for a change of guard at City Hall! Vote for change and pass the word around.

  • Mike - 2011-01-26 14:44

    "problems with it were "interface-related"." More like user.exe related...

      ntombzam - 2011-01-26 16:34

      Definately no user intervention is needed in "new system" as the brilliant system does it all. Enaf said refer to my comment above.

  • Tee Ehn - 2011-01-26 14:44

    People having a prepaid meter but still charged for electricity on their monhtly bills. THAT IS DEFINATELY CRISIS MAYOR, DON'T PLAY HIDE & SEEK.

  • Darwinian - 2011-01-26 14:45

    We must look into this glitches thing. What causes it and who must be held responsible...

      AquaticApe - 2011-01-26 15:22

      Get the CSIR to investigate.....

      Johnny - 2011-01-27 09:50

      We can form a committee. Have sandwich workshops and claim overtime.

  • Tee Ehn - 2011-01-26 14:46

    WHAT ABOUT INTEREST CHARGED ON INVALID OVERDUE AMOUNTS AS A RESULT, MAYOR?

  • lawnservicebobs - 2011-01-26 14:47

    It's not a crisis unless you are the one sitting with the R100 000 bill.

  • Brendon - 2011-01-26 14:50

    Watch Zeitgeist, free on Youtube. No more electric bills people.

  • gwildone - 2011-01-26 14:51

    The fact that central government (as incompetent as they may be) are ready to step in and take over the billing mess speaks volumes - there must be an election somewhere on the horizon.

  • The_Truth - 2011-01-26 14:52

    Eish. Look at his face. He looks like an imbecile

  • Masters - 2011-01-26 14:54

    Hi, was just giving the following a little thought. In three months time the new consumer protection act comes into force. Will we as ordinary South Africans be able to lay claims against the JHB City Council for incorrect billing, and not supplying a satisfactory service in terms of the act itself? In simple terms will the JHB City Council be liable for the abysmal service they currently provide, can you just imagine how many lawsuits they will face, on a daily basis? This is going to be fun.

  • ant177@24.com - 2011-01-26 14:54

    What u guys need up there, is someone like Hellen. Buy a box of bananas and drop it in the shit end of your dam and hope they all follow.

  • simcard1506 - 2011-01-26 14:54

    Nothing is ever a problem in your eyes....u living in a dream world..I hope that they cut you off.....You should resign....Be honest and tell the public whether u and your billing team received a bonus....if you did u should resign,..... People how about we start a facebook page and tweet his mayor and his team out of there like in Tunisa and Egypt

  • Chantal - 2011-01-26 14:54

    I AM NOT AT THE SAME INTEL. LEVEL AS YOU SO DON'T TRY AND BLUFF ME, MY ACCOUNT WAS INFLATED FROM MAY 2010 AND UP TO TODAY YOU COULD NOT FIX THE CLITCH HA HA HA YOU USED THE MONEY TO BUY SOCCER TICKETS FOR ALL THE NON WORKERS AT THE COUNCIL MILLIONS RAND'S OF TICKETS

  • Mr.Glum - 2011-01-26 14:56

    Not a crisis because the word crisis is not found in his language.

  • The_Truth - 2011-01-26 14:57

    An IT project with a zot name like "Phakama" is doomed to failure

  • linsam - 2011-01-26 14:58

    What a load of bull! Maybe its not a crisis for him - but it is a crisis for people who have been waiting up to 2 years to get a rates clearance certificate! This has a negative financial effect on the seller, buyer, estate agent and conveyancing attorney. The excuse that the implementation of the SAP system is to blame is absolute rubbish. This problem has been on going for year - and in 2003 the Johannesburg Attorneys Association sent a letter to the then city manager complaining about billing problems and delays in obtaining rates clearance certificates. Whilst getting an inflated an inaccurate rates account might be annoying - for a someone selling their house it can result in them losing their house to the bank, because the property cannot be sold without a rates clearance certificate. Numerous ratepayers have resorted to the courts in an attempt to get the council to issue rates clearance certificates - which means that the ratepayers are paying for these incompetent, corrupt and arrogant employees to defend their inability to do their jobs properly. I have tried for over 2 years to get city of joburg to correct the wrong physical and postal address on one of my rates account. The software programme is not to blame - it is lazy, incompetent and arrogant council employees. They have just admitted that they have not yet opened an account for another property - which they should have done in 2008! Council employees are doing a great job electioneering for the DA!

  • Vlad - 2011-01-26 14:58

    If you go onto facebook and look up "City of Joburg Top Officials All Need To Be Replaced", you can join this group. It is a petition calling for the replacement of all the fat cats that have let everything run into chaos. The billing problem has been ongoing for more than 6 months. It has very little to do with the IT project. An operations manager at Randburg told me that almost 99% of accounts are disputed and pending investigation!!! We need to act. Carte Blanche are running this story on Sunday. They would like to mention the petition but it needs to grow significantly!

  • Deon - 2011-01-26 15:00

    What a F&^KING idiot !!! How does he comprehend that this is not a crisis in his pea brain ? I know how, because HE is not affected by it you see !

  • carol12za - 2011-01-26 15:00

    It'll be a crisis when YOUR bloody electricity is cut off! They cut off mine because they don't know the difference between a debit and a credit. My account was over R3000 in CREDIT and they cut off the electricity because they thought it was OWED. How these people get jobs I don't know. And tell me WHY DOESN'T CITY POWER EVER EVER EVER ANSWER THE PHONE.

      2c - 2011-01-26 15:20

      I agree 100% The data capturers are the most lazy incompetant lot I have had to argue with. They can't spell and the proccess is way above their intellect. How on God's green earth have they been employed. They are all "dof" and I hope their heads "ontplof".

      Johnny - 2011-01-27 10:02

      I have an open dispute with COJ. 8 months, now. My bill went from -R2500 to R8500 ! In one go. Then my elect got disconnected on the 24'th Dec, without notice (WHICH IS ILLEGAL). Yes, Christmas eve. It was their fault (not that it matters to them), and then they have the audacity to charge me R600. Mann, I am tired of fighting.

  • Snucky@24.com - 2011-01-26 15:01

    Completely incompetent along with all the other incompetents in the Municipality. I would give the mayor a job as my garden boy hes so thick.

  • Pieter Wolf - 2011-01-26 15:02

    No end to his STUPIDDITY

  • Deon - 2011-01-26 15:02

    Now I know why !!! Just saw a photo of him !

      Paul - 2011-01-26 15:36

      big fat hairless jacob zuma lookalike. Wish someone would do a zapiro on him and ram a real tap into his skull.

  • Vlad - 2011-01-26 15:02

    If you go onto facebook and look up "City of Joburg Top Officials All Need To Be Replaced", you can join this group. It is a petition calling for the replacement of all the fat cats that have let everything run into chaos. The billing problem has been ongoing for more than 6 months. It has very little to do with the IT project. An operations manager at Randburg told me that almost 99% of accounts are disputed and pending investigation!!! We need to act. Carte Blanche are running this story on Sunday. They would like to mention the petition but it needs to grow significantly!

  • neiovw - 2011-01-26 15:03

    It's an ID10T or PIBKAC (Problem in between keyboard and chair) problem. The ratepayers association should setup a trust fund and urge all rate payers to pay their money into the trust fund, then, get a court injunction against the City of Jhb for fraud, extortion and a few other criminal charges. Let the fun begin.

  • Jeremy - 2011-01-26 15:03

    Please could someone go turn his electricity off...

  • Kyle_logan - 2011-01-26 15:04

    Actually it's a sign of incompetance and bad management.... wonder if he gets a bonus after all this stuff up...what am I saying of course he does, he just takes it from all the poor people he's stealing money from!

  • themantshepo - 2011-01-26 15:04

    not in crisis my black ass... go to hell you stupid dunda head... masondo you must get blaady fired you useless rubbish.... I want to see some action from the party in charge of this mess the... expect the ANC to do alot of hiring and firing this year.... it is about time we start wielding that axe and firing......

      Paul - 2011-01-26 15:38

      ??? for once we agree ??? who stole themantshepo? please get him off the lawnmower and put him back in front of bosses computer. I dont like imposters on this site.

      Serias - 2011-01-26 15:45

      for once i agree with you....!!

      Johnny - 2011-01-27 10:05

      Identity theft is a real problem. Will the REAL Tshepo, please stand up, please stand up ?

  • Vlad - 2011-01-26 15:08

    If you go onto facebook and look up "City of Joburg Top Officials All Need To Be Replaced", you can join this group. It is a petition calling for the replacement of all the fat cats that have let everything run into chaos. The billing problem has been ongoing for more than 6 months. It has very little to do with the IT project. An operations manager at Randburg told me that almost 99% of accounts are disputed and pending investigation!!! We need to act. Carte Blanche are running this story on Sunday. They would like to mention the petition but it needs to grow significantly!

  • sydney706 - 2011-01-26 15:13

    Dear Mayor Amos Masondo, Attached is your services bill for R 250,000 which is now overdue and we cutting your electricity.. I DONT SEE THE CRISIS EITHER....

  • Edward - 2011-01-26 15:13

    He does not know what is really going on in his council!!!! What is wrong with him? Did he watch carte blanche last year about the clearance certificates?

  • bill - 2011-01-26 15:14

    This numbskull belongs to the Thabo school of crises .Only if his BMW X6 won't start or he runs out of Chivas is it a crisis.