Good news for Joburg ratepayers as city launches new projects

The City of Johannesburg is introducing a virtual customer engagement platform to fast-track query resolution for customers with long outstanding billing queries.

The pilot phase of this virtual customer engagement is kicking off in Region B and is set to commence on 1 August 2022 and will be offered from 17h00 – 20h00 until 5 August 2022.

The City said it aims offer ratepayers a convenient customer service at the comfort of their preferred locations, “and with the extended times, it will be easier for our customers to engage at a time that suits them”.

“Customers will receive attention from our team of experts as they log onto Microsoft Teams, choose the specific link for the type of query that they have.”

Various query categories will be in place according to the type of service in dispute, such as:

  • Account and billing queries;
  • Credit control assistance with repayment arrangements;
  • Property rates queries;
  • Water and electricity metering queries; and
  • Indigent-related queries and registration (ESP).

“The City of Johannesburg continues intensifying ways to improve customer experience while resolving all outstanding billing queries. We therefore invite customers to make use of this convenient initiative,” said Kgamanyane Maphologela, director customer communications at Group Finance department of the City of Johannesburg.

The City Johannesburg’s multiparty government is also implementing the “7 to 11 Boots on the Ground” project to develop a customer-centric value chain in the delivery of basic services.

Ronald Harris, member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Community Development, said the initiative will see the management team of community development facilities availing themselves to oversee customer queries each morning between 07h00 and 11h00.​

Harris said the initiative seeks to cover 135 wards across Johannesburg, with officials doing walkabouts at all public facilities while listening to and spending time with members of the community.

He said his department is committed to implementing the programme over the next six months and anticipates it will continue for the duration of the multi-party government’s office tenure.

“We are currently in the process of working out further logistics and aligning our diaries accordingly, but the programme is already in practice, and we are visiting different communities each day,” he said.

Harris said that, ordinarily, councillors have their hands full with complaints and concerns from residents about the quality of service delivery at municipal recreational facilities. In the past, councillors have been unsuccessful in resolving community issues in their wards due to being inundated with meetings, thus indisposed to the communities they serve.

“During the designated hours, councillors and the management teams will be out of the office and on the ground to take note of what exactly is happening in the communities they serve. The programme is thus not only an effort to become accessible and available but an opportunity for the City to experience and assist in resolving the indignities communities are experiencing.

“It has now become an urgent mission for the management of these facilities and councillors to be accessible and responsive to the needs of the people of Johannesburg,” said Harris.

The 7 to 11 Boots on the Ground programme has numerous spinoffs for Joburg communities, including saving the city money if officials act expeditiously to resolve reported service delivery shortfalls.

“The programme will save the city millions if we stop and fix broken facilities when they are reported and not allow them to degenerate further.”

Harris said the initiative will also allow the council and all entities to work together and hold each other accountable for the quality of services rendered in local communities. It will also show residents the city is attentive to their needs and acting on them in a timeous manner.

He added that the initiative allows the municipality to assess how policies adopted by the council impact local communities and whether they are effective or need to be re-examined.

“It would be good for other departments to adopt a similar approach to improving service delivery. This way we can tackle complaints and have an instantaneous insight towards what’s happening in the City of Johannesburg,” said Harris.

Read: A look at the mega projects planned for South Africa

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Good news for Joburg ratepayers as city launches new projects