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Wednesday May 16, 2012

Durban billing system racks up more charges

A multi-million rand tender has been advertised for the maintenance of the incomplete municipal billing system that has already cost the eThekwini municipality nearly half a billion rand to develop.

City treasurer Krish Kumar told members of the executive committee yesterday that a tender worth R140 million had been advertised for the maintenance of the Revenue Management System being developed to replace the current Coins billing system which renders accounts to consumers.

Kumar did not specify the length of the period for the maintenance contract, but he said the closing date for tender applications was May 25.

In February 2010, a go-live date for the system was projected for June 30 last year, based on an additional R77m being spent on the system. This pushed up the cost of developing and implementing the system to R474m.

To date, at least four modules of the application had gone live. These included revenue receipting, business support, community residential units, bulk electricity and the rates calculation model.

Presenting an update report on the system to the committee, Bob Gangadaran, a deputy head in the municipality's geographic information and policy unit, said the system should "go live by geographical area" from July.

By using this option, it would make it easier to address customer queries and would limit the system's roll-out to 2 500 low-risk customers.

The unit would then increase the customer base by geographical area to include higher-risk customers by October.

Monthly progress reports would also be presented to the committee.

Unit head Jacquie Subban said that the department had been debating a number of options, but that going live by geographical area would enable them to select a smaller sample of customers where it would be possible to conduct physical checks on each account.

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