Shiceka to meet MEC over billing

2011-01-24 19:40

Johannesburg - Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka will meet his Gauteng counterpart before the end of the week in an effort to help sort out Johannesburg's, and the country's, billing mess.

"Yes, the minister wants a provincial picture, but he is also aware that it's not just a Johannesburg problem. This is the first step toward the resolution of this issue countrywide," his spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga Vika said on Monday.

The meeting with Gauteng MEC Humphrey Memezi would be a "listening" one, she said.

"This is a listening meeting. There is a programme highlighted by the City of Johannesburg to address the problem."

Residents frustrated by having their services cut off and by getting inflated water and lights bills staged a sit-in at the city's Braamfontein offices last week.

A long-term solution could involve "relooking and reviewing" legislation, which may see billing become a "national competency".

"This would get municipalities to focus on service delivery... and free them from this headache. It could be considered that maybe the SA Revenue Service could be given the responsibility. We know they have done very well and are very efficient."

Vika said the issue could be on the agenda of the next meeting between the minister and all provincial MECs.

National problem

"This is a national problem and many residents are angry," she said.

The Times newspaper on Monday quoted Shiceka saying he would meet Johannesburg authorities after discussions at provincial level with Memezi.

"Even myself, I used to complain when I was a citizen of that municipality. They demanded a lot of money for water and electricity even when I stayed only once or twice in that house in a particular month," he said.

"The billing system in Johannesburg has been a serious problem. The situation there is not getting better... . That situation can't be left unattended."

The meetings follow the city's disconnection of the services of over 41 000 households, the report said. Many of them had received inaccurate and hugely inflated bills.

Democratic Alliance councillor Dave Dewes recently threatened to sue city manager Mavela Dlamini for failing to perform his duties.

The billing woes experienced by the country's largest metro stemmed from the failure of its R580m Project Phakama. The information technology system was intended streamline the city's municipal service accounts. It had reportedly been unable to process meter readings, causing residents to be billed with estimates, the report said.

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Gabu Tugwana and Nthatisi Modingoane could not immediately be reached for comment.

  • Rob - 2011-01-24 19:53

    You can`t make a silk purse out of a sow`s ear.

  • Monica - 2011-01-24 20:08

    Stop stealing government funds and leave money to improve the City of Johannesburg!

  • Julius - 2011-01-24 20:10

    I left Joburg to get away from the torment of these incompetents. Western Cape is fantastic ( and of course DA) where those employed are qualified by more than their skin colour.

  • burtfred - 2011-01-24 20:57

    Sicelo Sicheka is not the solution to the problem, he is part of the problem. He lied about his own qualifications, how therefore can he have the moral authority to rectify the f****p that is Joburg Civic Centre - the Goon Show on the Hill? Masondo is worse than useless to the citizens of the City, he is a deployed ANC cadre and he must go. If this was Italy 1945, he would be hanged upside down and burnt by the people of the City.

  • stormpoet - 2011-01-25 07:35

    This REEKS of corruption. Lay the blame where they want, I don't care. Initialising a system that is inaccurate and not tested beyond it's limits really just shows the sheer incompetence that we face in our local governments. I do hope that with the upcoming elections the ward members in Johannesburg will take into account what has been happening to their city in the last few years. It's a shame, A sham and in Shambles!

  • Desire - 2011-01-25 07:45

    Nobody deserves UNEMPLOYMENT, STARVATION AND POVERTY more than the inept incompetents running and working at City of JHB! Not only are they totally useless, they have the nerve to be arrogant about it if you dare query THEIR f****ps.... oh that's if you're lucky enough to actually get through after holding for half an hour!

  • Sentor - 2011-01-25 09:40

    Typical...go for more centralisation to solve a problem which has grown around an unaccountable, corrupt centralised operation. The City's data base is so corrupted and incomplete that the only solution is to DECENTRALISE and build up the data base from the ground up. Both electricity and water distribution (which includes metering and billing for those services) should be privatised and out of the destructive control of the cadres. Local government should be local and apolitical. To legislate for SARS to take over the billing will take some considerable time and the city's records are in such a mess that to source and create an accurate data base for the City has the potential to destroy the SARS administration. The length of time it will take to pass the necessary legislation and capture accurate records will surely result in a City wide revolt over the chaos, a further collapse in revenue collection and services which will likely motivate largely apathetic ratepayers into taking action. The existing legislation is adequate but not enforced and if ratepayers got themselves organised they could take a class action against the City manager (accounting officer who is both responsible and liable for the actions of council) on at least 5 counts of breach of various acts. And this is just over the electricity cut off's!!!

  • Paulo - 2011-01-25 10:07

    I bet my bottom dollar that in a month/year/decade time that they will still be talking. Joburg has been on a consistent doward spiral since the ANC regime have take over. You get what you vote for you've been warned.

  • GhengisKhan - 2011-01-25 10:58

    It can not be a national problem because no such problem exist in the Western Cape............

  • malewith8 - 2011-01-25 16:58

    PLEASE LEAVE SARS OUT OF THIS!!!! They have only just come right, and are still struggling to cope, so PELEEEZE dont give them any more headaches!

  • DownTheDrain - 2011-01-26 14:41

    What I want to know is how the IT system could possibly cost R580m to implement and then hopelessly fail and they are also not being held accountable. Who got the tender for this, the money should be given back for failing to deliver. Why didn't they test the system first. You cannot implement a new system without testing and running concurrently with the old system for a few days to ensure things are working. The entire lot of them should be fired for incompetency. But typical SA no accountability for anything that's done, just throw you hands up and say "Eish, I don't know"

  • Mpho - 2011-01-26 15:33

    just bring in whites the problem will be solved we blacks (darkies)are always failing, LOOk at SABC and SAA, ever since Darkies took over these entities have been run under a loss, now ANC wants to take over Mines.That is why I wish I was white, I hate being Black

  • natashaventer1 - 2011-01-26 15:38

    The COJ billing system is a disaster ...we have received lawyers letters and been threatend with black listing if we dont pay an Rates account that is not even ours ... Perphaps they should get their house in order before black listing people ... utter disgrace

  • Vladimir.Len - 2011-01-26 15:49

    If you go onto facebook and look up "City of Joburg Top Officials All Need To Be Replaced", you can join this group. It is a petition calling for the replacement of all the fat cats that have let everything run into chaos. The billing problem has been ongoing for more than 6 months. It has very little to do with the IT project. An operations manager at Randburg told me that almost 99% of accounts are disputed and pending investigation!!! We need to act. Carte Blanche are running this story on Sunday. They would like to mention the petition but it needs to grow significantly!

  • bluerose499 - 2011-01-26 16:18

    So um what is the City Manager Mr. Mavela Dlamini doing about this mess? It's funny how the fat cats want to get fatter, but can anyone be really proud to be the "manager" of such a mess?? He made a mess of Joburg's roads, now looks like he wants to mess up the whole city ... nice work Mavela!

  • Zupta - 2011-04-11 06:34

    Can only imagine what these turfs will meet about. Hey shicks what happened dint I tell u not to get caught. Eish !!! Let's c were we can move u . How about ambassador of Switzerland.

  • Zupta - 2011-04-11 06:34

    Can only imagine what these turfs will meet about. Hey shicks what happened dint I tell u not to get caught. Eish !!! Let's c were we can move u . How about ambassador of Switzerland.

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