No clarity on Joburg billing chaos
The Revenue Road Map designed to sort out the Joburg billing chaos saw the City of Joburg undertaking to resolve 66 000 disputes by June 30 - but the city still cannot say what progress has been made.
The road map was launched in November last year to resolve the billing crisis in stages, over a period of 18 months.
According to the plan, 66 000 problems registered before November last year were to have been resolved by June 30. Now, nine days past the deadline, the council has failed to provide answers to The Star's request for an update on the billing chaos. This despite their numerous promises to do so since Wednesday.
The Star has been in regular contact with the city's head of communications, Gabu Tugwana, since Wednesday, when he promised replies to questions. He first asked for some extra time, but promised answers would be forthcoming on Thursday. They were not, but he said he would have them by yesterday morning.
In the afternoon, he then sent an SMS stating he would only be meeting the relevant parties at 8am this morning, as he had been booked off ill on Friday. This was the final response to numerous calls, e-mails and SMSes from The Star asking for clarity on what had happened with the 66 000 billing problems.
According to the road map, February 28 was the first deadline to resolve the queries. At that time, the city admitted that another 62 188 new complaints had been recorded in the four months from November 1 to the end of February and that, of these, 35 000 remained unresolved.
The council promised there would be accurate bills, query resolution and meter-reading accuracy, as well as "significant progress" made to resolve customer queries, including the resolution of clearances and change of ownership queries.
City manager Trevor Fowler promised the city would have an improved customer interface for which city officials would be held accountable, and that the backlog in property valuations would be cleared and customer queries largely resolved.
However, The Star's readers claim this has not been the case: