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One moment they were seething with rage, spoiling for a fight, the next they were smiling from ear to ear, walking back to their cars with a spring in their step.

This is how most of the 400 Johannesburg ratepayers who attended the City’s Open Day at The Glen Shopping Centre on Saturday felt after their services-related queries were successfully resolved by City staff.

The City’s Group Finance Revenue Shared Services Centre held the “open day” at the shopping centre, near Mulbarton in southern Johannesburg, to give Region F customers a platform to have their concerns or complaints resolved or at least escalated so they could be investigated.

Saturday “open days”, which are held once a month, cater for residents who are unable to visit the City’s walk-in-centres during the week for assistance in the resolution of complaints and concerns, which range from electricity cut-offs and water leaks to wrong meter readings and refunds.

The City has been hosting “open days” in all its seven regions since 2011 as part of its sustained customer care service rollout.

According to Shandu Lukoto, the City’s acting Director of Customer Interface, the initiative would continue.

“Open days”, she said, gave customers who did not have time during the week to have their queries addressed.

Every problem is resolved on the spot unless it needs to be further investigated. We don’t wait for two weeks or a month. We do it in the presence of the customer.

Most customers go all the way back home with a smile on their faces as a result. Our staff show a lot dedication by listening to each and every query and making sure that every query is resolved to the satisfaction of the customer or is referred to a relevant department for further investigation,” Lukoto said.

The 72-strong staff work from 8.30am to 3.30pm on the day.

Nomsa, a resident of Mulbarton, was beside herself with joy after her R6 000 arrears bill was reversed on the spot.

She said she had previously tried to have the matter resolved by contacting the customer care centre at Metro Centre in Braamfontein but to no avail.

Hellion Hlophe of Rosettenville was delighted after he was assured his inquiry regarding a R94 000 bill would be attended to immediately.

Hlophe said he had been wrongly billed since 2010, claiming he shared an electricity meter with his three neighbours.

“I have been assured that they will visit my house and my neighbours’ and get to the bottom of the problem. I am happy that at long last my problem will be solved,” he said.

Louisa Westhuizen of Elandspark approached City officials after she was informed she was R27 000 in arrears despite paying her account every month.

“I spent sleepless nights thinking about this large amount they say I owe while I knew I was up to date with my account. I thank God that the matter has finally been resolved,” she said​