Mashaba impels fixing of billing crisis

Herman Mashaba, the City of Johannesburg's Executive Mayor.

Herman Mashaba, the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, has admitted that the City of Johannesburg is not doing its best to deal with the billing crisis, which he said he will now ‘personally take charge of’.

He revealed on 31 July that regionalisation of the City’s billing system has left unfair arrears and fees for pre-termination notices in its wake.

Regionalisation was implemented at the start of the year to reduce the time from ratepayers’ meters being read to when they pay for what they used. Meters are read and statements issued for that reading within the same month.

READ: Billing could improve, if new project is well managed 

But this move, Mashaba said, had the effect of bringing forward the due date for billing to about three weeks, resulting in many account holders receiving two bills in one month. Most ratepayers suffered as a result of this in February when regionalisation started.

The mayor condemned the fees which were added to ratepayers who did not pay both accounts. He said they were unfairly placed into arrears, accumulating interest on arrears and being charged fees for pre-termination notices.

Stepping in, Mashaba announced that all residents who have been in good standing with the City for 12 months prior to February when regionalisation first started, and have been put into arrears by this, would have their interest owing on arrears and any costs relating to pre-termination notices and disconnections reversed.

These charges will be reversed on their September statement and will appear as a credit on the account.

The mayor said that regional open days will be held across the City going forward on Saturdays, where the City will help residents with billing-related problems.

“Efforts will be focused on the resolution of billing queries logged by our revenue call centre. Currently, the turnaround time, lack of feedback and customer care experienced in this regard is unacceptable,” concluded Mashaba.

ALSO READ: Billing regionalisation starts 

If you have been adversely affected by regionalisation, tell us your story and your thoughts on the recent development by emailing [email protected]

Chantelle Fourie

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Mashaba wants to fix the billing ‘crisis’