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Thursday Apr 02, 2015

Huge task awaits Joburg's new ombudsman

From July 1, residents experiencing problems - especially related to incorrect billing - with the City of Joburg will be able to lodge formal complaints with its ombudsman, advocate Siduduzo Gumede.

Gumede said he aimed to combat corruption and service delivery problems around the city, which included water, electricity and road issues.

"I expect to hear complaints along the lines of corruption and service delivery, but I am the last resort. The public must present reference numbers and details to prove that they have gone through the correct channels prior to approaching our offices," he said.

Gumede also said he intended to encourage the city "to abide by the rules of natural justice".

Announcing the appointment yesterday, mayor Parks Tau said the process to appoint an ombudsman had been under way since 2012, because the council wanted to ensure it was taking the right steps in appointing the correct person for the position.

"If we took one wrong step we could have contaminated the entire process... Our commitment is to democracy and transparency," the mayor said.

The ombusman’s headquarters will be in Houghton, but offices will be placed in all seven regions of Joburg.

The public will be able to file a complaint via online and hard copy forms.

The forms will be available at the ombud’s offices throughout the region.

"The citizens of Joburg should be proud that there is this added platform," Gumede said.

Asked how his office would deal with angry members of the public, Gumede told The Star he was going to make sure the right personnel would be put in place.

"We are committed and passionate about putting people first," he added.

The Star


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