City's entities reach out to communities
The City of Johannesburg opened up to the residents of Region F at the weekend – and there were no holds barred.
On the ninth day of Ramadan on Friday, the City hosted an Open Day at the popular Oriental Plaza shopping mall in Fordsburg, where it put service delivery programmes of several of its entities on the table as part of its ongoing community outreach campaign.
It was freedom of speech at its best as residents were given the space and latitude to ask tough questions about any service delivery-related issue bothering them. And officials of the various municipal entities (MEs) were on hand to answer the questions as competently as possible. Among the entities that put their service delivery under scrutiny were the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), Johannesburg Water (JW), Pikitup and Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo.
According Nozipho Ndaba, a Citizen Relationship Urban Management (CRUM) Officer in Region F, Open Days are about bringing the work of the City “closer to the people”.
“Many people are not even aware in which region of the City they live. So, making them aware of such matters and bringing them information about services available to them is an important part of what we do,” says Ndaba.
City employees spent the better of the morning answering questions about the responsibilities of the various MEs they worked for, giving out helpline numbers or directing residents with specific queries to dedicated officials or departments that could assist them. JPC representatives assisted those who, for instance, wanted to check which municipal-owned properties were available for sale or lease.
Johannesburg Water explained the complexities of the provision of water and sanitation and how to report burst pipelines, blocked street sewers, leaking water meters or flooded drains. JRA officials informed residents on how to report potholes, flooded or damaged stormwater drains, and malfunctioning traffic lights.
The staff took down the contact details of a local resident who approached them about a burst water pipe in her street, promising to swiftly attend to it. Another resident, who did not give his name, wanted to know how to petition the municipality to erect speed humps and additional traffic lights in his neighbourhood. He left the meeting satisfied after he was provided with information of the relevant agencies and their contact details.
Some of the residents wanted to know more about the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).