Hope we start off on a good note

2014-05-19 00:00

The changing of the guard

We say farewell and thank you to Nqobile Madonda, who has been most helpful in getting responses for readers who have gripes against the municipality. Madonda is moving on, taking on more responsibilities with regards to the call centre.

Her place is being taken by the affable Lungelo Sithole who is enthusiastic and always willing to go the extra mile to try and help.

The overall person in charge is the municipality’s newly appointed marketing and communications manager, Thobeka Mafumbatha.

Journalists met her at a media breakfast on Friday and were impressed by her drive and determination to improve the image of the municipality. We look forward to a good working relationship with the new team.

Meter reading contract

Following Leo Camp’s query last week about why the water and electricity meter readings he had submitted were not used, Witness Warriors was informed that residents can sign a contract with the municipality to ensure the readings they submit are reflected on their account.

Consolidated billings manager Moses Ngobese said that the contract was on the Msunduzi Municipality website. Go to: www.msunduzi.gov.za and click on contracts.

Phone links

Residents affected by last week’s electricity disconnections complained about not being able to get through to the municipality by phone. D Singh sent Witness Warriors a list of about seven numbers in the finance section that he had tried in vain. The municipality has advised that consumers should call 033 392 2980, which is the general call centre number — this number also appears on the account statements. Once through, the caller can choose from the following options: Press 1 for rates ; 2 for credit control, re-connections, disconnections and new services ; press 3 for meter readings and 4 for general queries. Apparently calls to direct extensions get re-routed to the call centre number and this can result in them going astray because they interfere with the call centre queuing system.

Some residents affected by the disconnections complained that they had approached ANC councillors who did not help. Councillor Rachel Soobiah provided Witness Warriors with a list of all the people who had approached her and were assisted. She said nobody was turned away because as politicians their aim was to win the hearts and minds of residents.

More billing woes

Warriors recently wrote about complaints over the non-responsiveness of the accounts section. The Potgieters have had an especially difficult time and even their query via Witness Warriors received no response.

Eugene Potgieter wrote: “My wife went in to see the municipality about our R9 000 that is owed to us. She was told that we could expect something ‘around about’ May and was also informed that they only have one staff member dealing with the refunds and that a ‘batch’ of refunds had been lost. Then to cap it all we are told that they will NOT entertain paying us the 9,5% interest that is mandatory if the shoe was on the other foot (if WE owed the municipality money). I think that something is amiss and I am at a loss of words to describe my frustration with this NON-FUNCTIONING municipality.”

Last week Eugene wrote again saying: “It seems that all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. No correspondence from them whatsoever! We are very disappointed in the municipal staff. It would not have been the case if we had owed them money. They have bullied us for too long now! We have also followed up with a further two e-mails to their office.”

An angry Potgieter took out his frustrations on Witness Warriors, saying the column was misnamed and should be called, “the toothless tiger”. Solving queries is certainly a matter of endurance and this week there was some good news for the Potgieters that the intrepid manager in the municipal manager’s office, Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies is taking a personal interest in this matter. Hopefully there will finally be resolution to this long-standing grievance.

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