Staffers who go the extra mile

2014-06-09 00:00


EXCEPTIONAL Msunduzi Municipality staffers are thanked by readers for being responsive and for just doing their jobs. We highlight their efforts in the hope of inspiring others to emulate their example. This is in keeping with Mayor Chris Ndlela’s budget speech message that the municipality is determined to become more service orientated.

Rogany Naidoo spent more than two years trying to solve an electricity account problem and was amazed that Janet Buthelezi was able to resolve the matter within 24 hours.

Naidoo wrote to Witness Warriors saying the amount she was persistently told she owed, even though she disputed this, was dropped from R23 000 to R840, thanks to Buthelezi’s prompt attention.

“She went the extra mile to look into all aspects of the account and found that it had been paid up to date,” said Naidoo.

She added that Buthelezi also found what she had been trying to explain to the municipality for months — that officials had removed the meter to prevent further theft by surrounding tenants because the building was not being used. The agreement was that the electricity meter box would be re-installed when the building was re-leased.

“Janet resolved the problem with such calmness and understanding. Prior to this, I was sent on a runaround for over two years. What an unnecessary waste of travel time from Pretoria, as I had to come up each time to try and sort out this matter personally. There was the trauma, anxiety and a loss of income, a burden that I could ill afford to carry,” Naidoo said.

Trish Wilson has also written into Witness Warriors to record her grateful thanks to staffers in the call centre and the electricity department who assisted her family in their hour of need.

She wrote: “My son and I returned home at about 8 pm, after attending my son’s day/night soccer festival at Merchiston, to find our house (in Hilton) in complete darkness. All our neighbours’ homes were blazing brightly, but our home was pitch black. It really rattled both of us. I phoned through to the electricity call centre and lodged a fault. I was tired, frazzled, grumpy and probably not very coherent, and probably not very polite either (my apologies), but Penny, the woman who took my call, was polite, calm and quietly reassuring. As was the woman when I phoned back a bit later to inquire whether the fault was going to be attended to that evening or not.

"I went to sleep, but was woken by a telephone call at about 11.15 pm to say the faults team were at my gate — which they were. This team of three were led by a gentleman who I only got to know as Jerome. Jerome came across as very knowledgeable and competent, and identified and solved the problem quickly and efficiently. They had to go up the ladder to get to the wiring at the top of the pole (in the street outside my home) — a dangerous exercise at the best of times, but particularly so in the middle of the night. And what was even more amazing is that they were totally cheerful about it all. Our electricity supply was restored before midnight, and Jerome and his little team were off to attend to another fault. I am deeply impressed by the calm, helpful service I received from the call centre — thank you to Penny and her colleagues! And I am equally impressed by, and incredibly grateful to, Jerome and his two men who came out all the way to Hilton so late at night, and shimmied up and down a ladder to restore electricity supply to our home. “Thank You” seems inadequate to express my deepest appreciation — but thank you to Jerome and his team!”

Appalling service

This issue was sent to Witness Warriors at the end of May and to date, despite numerous reminders, we have not received a response, nor has complainant Dr R.B. Haridass.

The medical doctor was working at the city centre and on the morning of May 21 she was leaving the clinic to see her next patient. However, she encountered a municipal grass-cutting tractor, NPC 762, parked in the roadway, blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.

“This driver had blatantly left his vehicle unattended and ignored all the traffic rules. The parks and recreation department telephones were not working when we tried calling them. This errant and irresponsible employee of the Msunduzi Municipality parks and recreation department caused me to be delayed for the rest of the day. My husband had to hot wire the tractor and drive it out of the road so that other vehicles and myself could enter or leave. The question is that anyone could have started the tractor and stolen it. Also, the tractor was in the centre of town and in an area where no grass was being cut. I feel that this employee is a total waste of ratepayers’ money, and should be severely reprimanded for violating traffic rules and leaving the vehicle unattended. I still await a representative from parks and recreations to contact me about this complaint.”

Faeces in the driveway

Zona van den Berg: “I am contacting you for help with regards to a problem we are having and seem to be unable to get the municipality to help us. We are a small office in Boshoff Street — between Burger and Loop streets, directly opposite Fields Pharmacy (which has been empty for about a year now) — and we are having a major problem with the “street children” who are using our driveway as a toilet. We have tried to have the children removed as they are sleeping on the pavement outside Fields Pharmacy and on the corner of Boshoff and Burger streets, but this does not seem to work. As we are a small office, we do not have a facility to be able to wash the driveway down. We have tried to contact the waste department but get switched off.”

Thobeka Mafumbatha, spokesperson for the Msunduzi Municipality, responded that staff from the Environmental Health Unit will wash and disinfect the area. However, she added that on a broader level, the issue of street children was not a simple matter to address, as it involved not only the municipality but the Department of Social Development as well.

“This is a problem experienced in several areas in the city — such as Henrietta and Hesom streets, Boshoff Street, the Raisethorpe CBD, to mention a few. There have been a few initiatives/committees from the SAPS and the municipality to address this matter, but without the support of all role-players and proper facilities, the problem will continue to haunt us,” Mafumbatha said.

She added that the clean-up would involve several departments, including waste management, for a longer term solution to the problem next to Van den Berg’s office.

City clean up

The Pietermaritzburg public has been very receptive to a call by Witness Warriors for a city wide clean-up. Look out for articles in the coming weeks regarding this campaign. You can also read in today’s paper suggestions by Carter High School pupils on what can be done to clean up the city. The pupils will be representing the city at a youth camp in Shanghai.

EFF posters

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have been given a few more days to scrub their glued posters off the railway bridge in the Mayor’s Walk area. If they fail to do so, a contractor will be assigned to carry out the clean up and the party will be billed for the work, as is stated in the municipal by-laws.

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