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The City is making headway in settling billing issues with over 35 000 billing queries resolved to date - and the offer to give discounts to customers with disputed bills of 90 days and longer still stands.
OF THE 60 000 logged billing queries, 35 535 have been resolved as part of the City’s commitment to resolve billing issues.

Executive mayor Amos Masondo during a visit to a customer service centre (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)Executive mayor Amos Masondo during a visit to a customer service centre (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)This was announced at a media briefing held by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and the Gauteng MEC for Local Government and Housing, Humphrey Mmemezi on Thursday, 14 April.

“The city will work around the clock to resolve all outstanding queries,” said Mmemezi.

Madonsela said the key to the eradication of the billing problem was a prompt response to all queries. She said her office had received over 200 billing queries, and within three days, 55 of these had been resolved.

“The promotion of governance within the city, getting things right the first time around, learning new and better ways of handling queries, a clearly articulated customer service charter that espouses ubuntu principles, all of these will go a long way in improving the billing problems encountered by the City,” she explained.

Customers with disputed bills of 12 months and longer are getting a 50 percent discount on their accounts and those with queries with a lifespan of between 90 days and 12 months are receiving a 25 percent discount from the City.

The discounts are in line with what Executive Mayor Amos Masondo promised during his state of the city address – to give considerable discounts to customers with outstanding queries, said Kgamanyane Maphologela, spokesperson for the City’s revenue and customer relations management department.

Disputed queries are limited to consumers not receiving bills for extended periods of time and other billing queries like delays in land transfers, properties not registered, change of ownership, incorrect property valuation, opening new service accounts and linking of services.

“The discount scheme will be affected to applications for metered services only (i.e. electricity, water, sewer, refuse removal). It is therefore important to note that rates [constitute] a tax and as such cannot be discounted. This is against the Municipal Property Rates Act that the Rates Policy is derived from and is therefore excluded from this process,” Maphologela said.

The City offers discounts to customers with outstanding queriesThe City offers discounts to customers with outstanding queriesHe noted that settlements were not applicable to customers who had fallen behind with payments or who had neglected to pay their accounts.

To qualify for a discount customers must have lodged a query about their bills and must provide a reference number dating before 31 March 2011. Those who receive discounts are urged to pay in full or make arrangements to settle over 90 days.

Customers are urged to update their contact details, including identity number, verifiable physical address, postal address, email address and cellphone or landline number.

The City said it needed a minimum of six months to resolve all outstanding queries. “Our ongoing quest is to change the customer experience and to provide them with individualised responses,” said Gerald Dumas, Joburg’s head of revenue.

To follow up on a query for the discount process, an existing reference number and originally logged date, the account number of the disputed account and your contact details are needed.

If a valid query has been lodged through official City channels, the process should be completed before the end of June. “The application will undergo an adjudication process and you will be informed at a later stage of the outcome.”

Queries can be taken to the following customer service centres:

Midrand Civic Centre: 300 – 15th Road, Midrand
Sandton Civic Centre: 24 Fredman Drive, Sandton
Randburg Rates Hall: corner Bram Fischer Drive and Jan Smuts Avenue, Randburg
Roodepoort City Hall: corner Berlandina and Dieperink streets, Roodepoort
Thuso House: 61 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
Eureka House: corner Marlborough and Rosettenville roads, Springfield
Lenasia Civic Centre: corner Rose Avenue and Eland Street, Lenasia Ext 2
Ennerdale Ext 9: corner Katz Road and Smit Street, Ennerdale
Eldorado Customer Service Centre: 4046 Link Crescent Avenue, Ext 5, Eldorado Park
Jabulani Civic Centre: 1 Koma Road, Jabulani

Maphologela says working hours at customer service centres have been extended for convenience.

To lodge a complaint, either visit a City customer service centre or contact Joburg Connect on 011 375 5555.

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