Share this article

2011-09-20: Response re compliance notices by the National Consumer Commissioner

THE City of Johannesburg has been issued with 45 compliance notices by the National Consumer Commissioner (NCC) and has already objected to the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT), a separate body from the NCC.

These matters will now run their course through processes in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.  A large number of the compliance notices were relating to complaints already in the system which the City was resolving.

According to Revenue & Customer Relations Department spokesperson, Kgamanyane Maphologela, there is apparent communication breakdown between the City and the NCC given that the City was already resolving these complaints in the compliance notices.   

"Meetings were thereafter scheduled with the NCC to streamline processes and develop cooperation," says Maphologela. The City further believes that the NCC may have acted before referring to the facts of the matter as well as the legal framework governing local government - hence the objection to NCT.

Since the beginning of April 2011 up to now, the City has received a total of 276 complaints from the NCC. Of these, 154 have already been resolved; 113 pending and 9 closed due to insufficient information. In some of the outstanding matters, for example, there no account numbers accompanying the complainant.  The City's turnaround needs to be weighed against its size of customers who are approximately 1.1 million.

Out of all the complaints received, not all relate to the billing system or wrong bills. Some relate to valuation, rates, public liability, strikes etc.  All queries relating to billing are being investigated and corrected where necessary.

The City is placing on record that it never refunded R7m to any consumer as claimed in media reports.  An incorrect reading of a meter resulted in a bill of approximately R7m being received by the consumer.  However, this complaint was already in the process of being resolved and was in fact finalized by means of a reversal of the incorrect billing not a refund as incorrectly claimed. 
The City is of the opinion that it will be premature for the NCC to attempt to fine the City R15m for not complying with the notices at this stage.   The complaints in the compliance notices have already been resolved.   

The City and the NCC met on several occasions and agreed on a process to deal with consumer complaints.  The City undertook and continues to undertake to resolve genuine complaints and where applicable, find suitable solutions to consumer disputes. Consumers are advised to submit complaints to the City for resolution.   

Issued by: 
Stanley Maphologela 
Customer Communications 
Revenue & Customer Relations Management Department 
Phone: 011 628 4728 
Fax: 011 358 3639 
Cell: 083 589 3746