Johannesburg billing plan 'disappointing'

2011-11-23 15:30

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg's plan to improve its revenue management service was a disappointment, the DA said on Wednesday.

The three phase roadmap, announced on Tuesday, was of little substance and it was doubtful it would have the desired outcomes, DA Johannesburg caucus leader Mmusi Maimane said.

The plan followed a litany of billings problems in the city.

The city said on Tuesday that it would seek to fix incorrect bills, improve the quality of meter readings and update customer information.

Time frames

"It was widely expected that the city would announce a moratorium on all disconnections until the present chaos and incorrect billing in the revenue department is regularised," said Maimane.

"Instead, time frames, according to which present faulty bills are expected to be rectified only by the end of next year, were announced."

The party also warned that previous attempts to rectify the billing system had cost hundreds of millions of rand, with few positive results.

This was because the real problems had not been addressed. The present plan was no exception to the rule, Maimane said.

"It is absolutely imperative that the ANC administration employs officials who are 'fit for purpose' and are up to the mammoth task of turning the city's finances around.

"The ANC's policy of cadre deployment in Johannesburg has been one of the significant factors that have landed the city's revenue in the poor state that we are in," he said.


The systemic shortcomings that needed to be addressed included the lack of measures to change meter numbers on accounts when a meter was changed, the inability to follow up if a reading was provisional for months and years on end and the inability to prevent the billing of highly-inflated amounts without due investigation.

"It is a pity that the city manager, in spite of all the other consultation done, had not seen it fit to meet with the DA as had been requested, to discuss the root causes of the problems."

Such a meeting would have ensured that all bases were covered in the road map, said Maimane.

One of the more worrying results of the billing crisis was the effect it had on the ability to collect revenue.

The party said the city was at present six percent (R1.3bn) behind its budgeted revenue figures.

The targeted revenue was also questionable considering the number of bills that were incorrect and/or highly inflated.

"The final corrective measures are planned to be in place in 18 months' time. One can only hope that the city's financial viability lasts until then," said Maimane.

  • ServaasD - 2011-11-23 15:34

    Anything and any city, municipality governed or touched by the ANC is or turns into one massive disappointment. Ironically SARS is the only proper functioning department.

      StarStruck - 2011-11-23 15:43

      Well said.

      Nicholas - 2011-11-23 15:52

      That's because SARS employed a White Zim man years ago straight out of prison who stole millions from SARS in a "clever" way!!! Must say, Trevor was very clever doing this! SARS have since never looked back. I have a bill with City of JHB still not resolved (two years now) and had to evetually pay R23 000 so they can stop sending threatening letters from VVM lawyers!! a simple meter reading error could not be rectified and I have a thick file of correspondance with them to sort this out!! Any lawyers out there interested to take up this case with City of JHB??

      Gaby - 2011-11-23 15:55

      That's because the SARS project was outsourced to Dimension Data with 20 years experience and not a BEE company that is owned by the buddy of a minister, that was registered three months ago.

      StirMonger - 2011-11-23 19:38

      Yip they take income seriously not just spending

      Boer - 2011-11-23 22:01

      They will be out of power soon.

  • Piet - 2011-11-23 15:41

    Just go and look at the queue everyday at the Region 5 office in Roodepoort. I tried to take a picture of the people waiting but I was reprimanded by security. Taking pictures of ANC incompetence is classified!!!!!!!!!!

      Joe216 - 2011-11-23 15:55

      I was there as well on friday last week about wrongful disconnection to my electricity. Waited in line for 4 hours. I only had electricity again on Saterday afternoon, but my query is still open. I opened it about a year ago. I received my first account 7 months after opening an account, and the outstanding balance is R55k. They over estimated every month since last year december which ended up to R90k. They then 'fixed' it to be R55k again.

      Khanyi - 2011-11-23 17:48

      Don't even mention region 5. this Monday they closed an hour before the official closing time. The reason we were given was that the que is too long. You'd think these are exxagerated stories if you have not been in those offices. I am told there's a mass action at this office on Saturday at 11.

  • John - 2011-11-23 15:41

    Wait until we get the screwed up Toll Charges accounts! It

      Ann - 2011-11-23 15:48

      Yip!!! Hopefully they are still trying to assist us on that one - bloody unconstitutional bunch ...

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-11-23 15:41

    A woman living on her own reported to 702 that she had been billed R80000 for electricity. As she works, it is very difficult for her to rectify what is obviously an incorrect bill as she has to go into the council offices and queue for hours

  • Pierre - 2011-11-23 15:43

    The party also warned that previous attempts to rectify the billing system had cost hundreds of millions of rand, with few positive results - - - - Waisted, the old system worked, but hey Lets dump it it was implemented pre-1994. Bottom line Lack of Skills, Lack of Willingness to understand, Lack of literacy skills, and so i can rattle on and on

      Rob - 2011-11-23 18:02

      Don't forget to mention their incredible approach to customer service and quality processes! Befotre you give this thumbs down do please check your dictionary to see what incredible means! Sorry to patronise.

  • Stephan - 2011-11-23 15:54

    I'm pretty sure that this is Apartheid's fault.

      Poloyatonki - 2011-11-23 16:01

      Yes its apartheid's fault, why did they deny us education. Its becuase of them we are battling to run the country.

      Andy - 2011-11-23 16:14

      @Poloyatonkie... so in 16 years you have not managed to get yourself educated??? I have done just that, with not much money at all. I guess it's just easier for the majority of this country to sit and blame apartheid for their own unwillingness to better themselves!

      ServaasD - 2011-11-23 16:15

      Maybe if you idiots stopped burning your schools down it might not have been denied?

      Poloyatonki - 2011-11-23 16:39

      Andy.. its not easy to get education when you feed your family, find a job, heal apartheid wounds.

      Trudy - 2011-11-23 16:42

      Serv-Ass again

  • Poloyatonki - 2011-11-23 15:58

    What a hectic day I had today, anyway I see the Anti ANC creature are still whining about the usual stuff....

      ServaasD - 2011-11-23 16:01

      And you are still an idiot until further notice.. Now go do what you anc idiots do best. March, strike, toyi-toyi and protest. All you are good at and good for anyways. Run a long now, the "band" of strikers are waiting...

      Jay - 2011-11-23 16:13

      At least you are clever enough to admit that you and your friends are battling to run the country. I think you are not battling you are failing completely. But rather destroying the country and filling your own pockets(as long as possible) than let the right competent people do the job.

      deon.fourie - 2011-11-23 17:43

      Whenever I see a comment from you (and they're EVERYWHERE) I always get this strange mental image of all the little bits of unused stupid and self pity in the world, somehow abiogenically constructing a self-aware parody of a retarded rat swimming around in circles in a long-drop.

  • Arnaud Ducray - 2011-11-23 16:03

    Still waiting for two refunds since last Year . Shame on them . Idiots .

      Wayne - 2011-11-24 05:52

      Me too. 15 months and 11 visits to JHB Municipal offices including 2 consultations and numerous emails with two of their directors, Andrew Lassen and Hannes de Beer,and still no refund! What an absolutely pathetic bunch. Try spending some time at these offices if you want to see absolute apathy at work.

  • Jay - 2011-11-23 16:05

    ANC AnotherNationalChaos ... VIVA BEE ! This country is going down much quicker than one can comprehend. The big companies(VW, BMW, MB, etc) will start pulling out soon ... going to less corrupt and better working countries. Then even SARS will struggling to collect money because there i nothing to collect ...

      Heiku - 2011-11-23 16:45

      Corruptible politicians actually hold many advantages to the shrewd business man.

  • Kala - 2011-11-23 16:10

    The ANC have a truck load of plans. All they have is plans. Plans to root out corruption, plans to build more houses, plans to create employment, plans to curb crime, plans to build better infrastructure etc... The only plan that has worked is the one they originally concocted in 1994... The plan to milk the citizens of SA for all they are worth.

  • George - 2011-11-23 16:18


  • tracy.davids - 2011-11-23 16:21

    I had my meter converted to prepaid in June this year and yet i still receive an amount for electricity on my bill every month. I went to the municipality to have them rectify it after several attempts at calling them were unsuccessful. The visit didn't help either. They are not open on Saturdays and work til 3pm in the week. It's so d*mn frustrating!

  • Dane - 2011-11-23 16:44

    The PROBLEM..........cadre Deployment, for fak sakes is it so hard to hire competent people, oh wait I got the job coz you an ANC supporter!

  • Reshan - 2011-11-23 17:19

    Was at the municipality this afternoon, so sad to see how bad it is. Everyone (Black, White, Indian and Coloured) agreed the SA government is useless and corrupted. Also managed to get a few sign ups for the Right2Know campaign :)

  • braamc - 2011-11-23 17:31

    There is a surprise. Give it them and they will f*ck it up for you or steal it. Anyone disagree?

  • Khanyi - 2011-11-23 17:37

    A colleague of mine found a bill of R90k, and they cut him off. When he enquired, they said he must pay first, then he can argue it if he likes. I have not received my bill for 6 months now, and they tell me to chill. It's a chilling feeling!

      Reshan - 2011-11-23 17:56

      Sounds like we're in the same boat, I really hope it doesn't sink

  • Rob - 2011-11-23 17:56

    The Plan: Too little, too late and missing one very important element. That is accountability...sure the plan mentions improvements in accountability going forwards, but all that amounts to is promises, promises. The missing element is accountability for the disaster today. Identify what AND WHO are to blame and make thos individuals accountable. Not collectively but as individuals, and make the information public. In other words come clean, admit fault and now get on with fixing it. Not a witch hunt, simply good accountable management, after all the sh*t was created with taxpayer's money. Seems to me that if this isn't done it will more of the same bull.

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-23 21:58

    Bill disappointed us in Cape Town yesterday. Bill disappoints in Johannesburg today. I think we must get rid of Bill. Start with a clean sheet. No Bill sheet.

  • TembaVJ - 2011-11-24 05:26

    R90K??? You can buy an awesome generator for that price... off the mamparras completely... they will ask "eish what do we do with dis ting now?" BANNA NA NA.... BANNA NA NA.... How long can SA hold, its exponential, the next 2 years will be very bad.

  • Andy - 2011-11-24 08:41

    @Poloyatonki So how much time do you need to cry about apartheid wounds? 16 years? 50 years? 100 years? How long will you sit back and wait for things to fall in your lap? 16 years is a long time, and a lot of young people in this country has thus not been affected by apartheid, but still blames it. I myself had to get educated with little given to me, had to find a job, and have to provide for my family (in that order), and non of this has fallen in my lap. There's just no will in this country to create the life you want anymore, no one wants to work hard to 'get things they want'. Sitting back and blaming 'other' things like apartheid is just an easy excuse for lazy people my dear Poloyatonki.

      carel.steenekamp - 2011-11-25 14:57

      You are really naive and arrogant if you think that the things you have achieved are as a result of your hard work only. Get some compassion and understand the plight of many black people in this country who find themselves dis-empowered and stripped of dignity.

  • Jasper - 2011-12-02 10:17

    Check this out!! Mobilitate just launched a brand-new issue type which would allow you to report all your billing issues (old and new) together with all the required information and supporting documents. By reporting your billing issue on Mobilitate you would make it easier for the city and for designated councillors to deal with your issue and hopefully resolve it. And more importantly, in doing so, we would finally have a clear indication of how big the billing crisis really is i.e. how many billing issues are really out there. For more information, check out this video

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