Pietermaritzburg Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla has instructed the City’s communications unit to get the call centre in order.
This comes after he was interrupted by phone calls from residents while he chaired the executive committee meeting on Thursday.
He told the councillors that people were phoning him and complaining saying they could not get a response from the call centre.
Thebolla raised this amid a call with a resident who sounded very irritated and could be heard screaming at the mayor on the other end of the line, although the sound was not clearly audible through the device the mayor used to connect to the virtual meeting.
“I’m raising this so that you can hear what I have to go through every day, which makes me end up not being able to even look at what I’m supposed to do as a mayor of this municipality,” said Thebolla.
He appealed for the intervention of the municipal manager, Madoda Khathide.
“The officials in the communications unit must deal with the issues at the call centre and if they can’t then we must take a decision here and do something about it, seriously.”
Thebolla then apologised to the committee for disrupting the meeting. “I’m really sorry but they get to your nerves at times.”
The call centre has been previously marred with allegations of agents dropping calls on residents, not picking up the phone, being rude to members of the public and failure to provide information related to service delivery interruptions.
Yesterday’s episode came hot on the heels of The Witness’ Tuesday report in which call centre operators alleged they lack of tools of trade, are forced to work with an outdated system and spoke of unfair salary grading practices which demotivated them.
The City’s communications manager, Thobeka Mafumbatha, who is also responsible for the call centre, said the municipality was in the process of addressing the staff’s concerns and Msunduzi has even approached the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for funding assistance to upgrade the call centre system, which was recently granted.
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