‘System to curb delays’

2019-10-04 15:58

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The business community has welcomed the introduction of the E4 web-based system that promises to reduce the turnaround time for rates clearance certificates to less than 20 days.

The Witness has reported extensively on attorneys’ and conveyancers’ frustrations over long delays in the issuing of the rates clearance certificates.

There were also allegations that some of their peers were colluding with municipal officials and paying bribes so that they could jump the queue.

On Thursday the City finance management, led by the acting chief executive officer Dudu Ndlovu-Gambu, met with the members of the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business (PMCB) where they outlined how this new system works and how it would ensure transparency in how Msunduzi manages the rates clearance certificates application process. The team from E4 was also there to answer questions and they assured those in attendance that the days of waiting for more than three months for the application to be processed was a thing of the past.

Msunduzi’s acting rates manager Moges Pillay said: “This system will ensure that there is accountability and transparency throughout the process. There will be no preferential treatment or jumping the queue because there will be an audit trail of everything that is done on the item and that trail cannot be manipulated or edited. So you will be able to track your application and see where it’s being held up and you can send a message to us on the system to find out why.”

He said the rates team had been trained on how to use the system and additional staff would be appointed soon to ensure that the rates department was fully capacitated as they dealt with hundreds of applications monthly.

E4’s Malcom Pillay said the great thing about the system was that everything was done electronically so there would no longer be a problem of documents getting lost in officials’ offices.

He said all six affected departments, including valuations and credit control, also had to log onto the system to fill in their relevant sections on the applications.

Each department would be given two days to finish their task but the tasks would be sent simultaneously to all business units.

Ndlovu-Gambu said the system came at no cost to the municipality and E4 would be paid by the attorneys and conveyancers through their application fees for the rates clearance certificates. “All we have to do on our side is make sure that our staff is trained and that the department is well capacitated and we are already busy filling all the vacant posts. We might experience some teething problems in the next few months because we only went live on October 1 but I doubt even those will be as bad as the situation was when things were done manually,” she said.

PMCB’s Melanie Veness said business welcomed this initiative and was confident that it would unlock investment into the City. She said Pietermaritzburg’s economic development had been “held ransom” by the problems in the rates department as frustrated investors got tired of waiting for applications to be processed.

“We lost out because some investors got fed up with waiting and took their money elsewhere.”

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality

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