Ogaats helps you lodge municipal complaints in just 30 seconds

2015-02-19 00:00

A CAPE Town man has created an easy to use website that allows you to lodge a complaint to your ­municipality in just 30 seconds.

The frustration of waiting to log a complaint at his municipality prompted Pierre du Toit to offer this alternative way of reporting municipal problems in his area. He started the website Ogaats.co.za for all South ­Africans to ­anonymously lodge complaints to their municipalities from the comfort of their own homes.

The 44-year-old businessman from Bellville in Cape Town said Ogaats.co.za started off as a pet project and has blossomed into a tool that is aiding the rest of South Africa.

“We established www.ogaats.co.za in November last year. What you do is take a picture of your complaint such as a pothole, burst waterpipe or no street lights in your area. After ­taking a picture, go to the website,­ ­upload the picture, put in your ­location and then submit it.

“Once submitted, we will route the complaint to the specific department at that particular municipality. It takes less than 30 seconds to do this,” said Du Toit, adding he is registered with over 226 municipalities, including ones in the KwaZulu-Natal.

“This is not just a business for me, this is a social responsibility project and my way of giving back,” said Du Toit.

“You can report anything — broken street lights, public ­toilets, manhole covers — and we will submit the complaint for you,” he said, adding that he had received a positive response from some municipalities.

Although Msunduzi Municipality was not aware of Ogaats, spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said this was an excellent service.

“It [this service] will assist in ­identifying some of the areas we were not aware of,” said Mafumbatha, ­adding that the city was currently ­investigating ways of providing a ­better service to ratepayers.

She said she had no record of complaints reported by Ogaats yet, and that municipal faults were reported through the municipality’s call centre.

The Witness found an example, on Ogaats, of a complaint addressed to the Msunduzi ­Municipality where the complainant informed the city about a trench across a road that had not been filled in properly after road works.

In eThekwini Municipality there were several complaints concerning potholes.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said the city “is not affiliated with the Ogaats website nor do we have knowledge of the company”.

In November last year, the city launched the Municipal Smart App pilot project, an app designed to facilitate interaction between the municipality and citizens. “The knowledge gathered from this pilot launch will lead to improvements that will be ­incorporated into the Go-live version of the app,” said Mthethwa.

For more information, visit www.ogaats.co.za

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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