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The head of Joburg Water has been moved to run the City’s revenue department in the latest move to resolve billing issues. Discounts have also been offered to affected residents.
THE City has taken another step towards ending its billing challenges. Gerald Dumas, until now the managing director of Joburg Water, has been appointed acting executive director of revenue in the City.

Gerald Dumas is the acting head of revenueGerald Dumas is the new acting head of revenueDumas takes over the duties of Vicky Shuping, who will be moving to take care of projects in the Office of the City manager.
City manager, Mavela Dlamini, says: “Johannesburg is delighted to call on the services of an experienced administrator such as Dumas.”

In his five years at the helm of Joburg Water, Duma was responsible for a number of large capital projects to revitalise the City’s water infrastructure and extend services to communities that had been excluded in the past. More than 98 percent of Joburg residents now receive basic water supplies and 91 percent have basic sanitation services on a daily basis.

“His experience in the management of databases and customer relations will be of great value in his new position as the head of the revenue department,” says Dlamini. “He will be leading the City’s new drive to assist our customers in dealing with outstanding billing issues and implement the … project to establish a new system of customer relations and revenue management.”

Manu Padayachee will become acting managing director of Joburg Water.

The changes in the revenue department follow concerns highlighted by residents regarding incorrect billing and electricity cut-offs over the past few months. In dealing with these issues, the City has gone on a drive to ensure all queries related to incorrect billing are attended to promptly.

On 9 March, Executive Mayor Amos Masondo said the City would offer substantial discounts to customers with long outstanding queries on their bills, provided all outstanding accounts are settled within a certain time.

There are criteria, however, to qualify for the settlement arrangements: customers must have lodged queries about their bills; customers must provide a reference number, proof of identity, a verifiable physical address, a postal address, an email address and cellphone number or landline number; and customers must agree to pay outstanding amounts before 30 June, or make binding arrangements for payment.

If payment is returned or the customer defaults on the arrangement, the write-off debt will be reinstated. If a settlement is reached between the customer and the City, the customer will get discounts: clients with billing queries of 90 days to 12 months will receive a 25 percent discount and clients with billing queries of 12 months and older will receive a 50 percent discount.

Customer service centres are working extended hours to resolve the billing issueCustomer service centres are working extended hours to resolve the billing issueDisputed queries are limited to: consumption queries; queries relating to numerous interim readings; customers not receiving bills for extended periods of time; and other billing queries; such as delay in land transfers, properties not registered, change of ownership, incorrect property valuation, opening new service accounts and linking services.
Customers who have received bills containing obvious errors will definitely qualify for the settlement process. Those who dispute the amount outstanding on their account will also qualify.

But, in both instances, queries must have been lodged with the City, and there will be a verification process of the query, and the discounts will only be given to customers with valid and proven complaints.

Residents can lodge complaints by visiting the City’s customer service centres or phoning Joburg Connect on 011 375 5555. In all instances, they must get a reference number.

The following customer service centres will be open to handle queries during operating hours, on Mondays to Fridays from 7.30am to 3.30pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 12pm during March:

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, Ferndale;
Roodepoort City Hall: corner Berlandina and Dieperink streets, Roodepoort;
Thuso House: 61 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein;
Eureka House: corner Marlborough Street and Rosettenville Road, Wemmer Pan;
Lenasia Civic Centre: corner Rose Avenue and Eland Street, Lenasia Ext 2;
Ennerdale Ext 9: corner Katz Road and Smit Street, Ennerdale; and
Eldorado Customer Service Centre: 4046 Link Crescent Avenue, Ext 5, Eldorado Park.
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