Open days possible solution to billing crisis

Residents meet at Marks Park for a public participation gathering earlier this year.

In light of the City of Johannesburg’s infamous billing crisis making headlines again, hoping to mend its relationship with ratepayers, the City will host a billing query open day on 12 August.

From 9am at Marks Park In Emmarentia, officials will help residents from Region B with billing-related problems.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba earlier admitted that the City of Johannesburg is not doing its best to deal with the billing crisis, which he said he will now ‘personally take charge of’.

MMC for Finance, Dr Rabelani Gagada, said the billing open days will be replicated in all regions of the City in upcoming months, as the City steams ahead to reduce the backlog of incorrect accounts in its SAP information technology system.

“Billing open days are designed to rectify anomalies in municipal accounts and help the City improve its customer database. There are countless property owners who should be paying for municipal services but are not doing so, we urge them to come forward so we can remedy their billing issues,” Dagada said, adding that resolving billing woes will improve revenue collection.

The MMC said the open days will give ratepayers a platform to interact with revenue front line staff who’ll assist them to remedy or update their municipal accounts. “This is also a chance for all stakeholders to take up their concerns with senior management in the City, who will ensure each account receives the desired attention,” he explained.

“We expect ratepayers to come out in droves so that City officials can assist them to resolve long-standing billing issues.”

The desired outcome of the billing open day is to compile an accurate indigent register, introduce mechanisms to improve billing and revenue collection and improve the turnaround time for query resolution.

Going forward, the City will conduct a frequent audit of properties and meters; enforce consequence and performance management, recruit skilled and qualified professionals and implement the SAP system successfully.

Plans are afoot to establish a Revenue Nerve Centre to coordinate efforts and interventions across the revenue value chain. “Our vision remains to deliver a financially sustainable and well-run City, in a caring and professional manner,” Dagada said.

“All corporate account holders and ratepayers who are 60 days or more in arrears or have a query on their account should attend this billing open day. We’re dedicated to fixing the billing crisis in a caring and responsive manner.”

 

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Chantelle Fourie

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