Billing crisis soon to be history

MMC for Finance, Dr Rabelani Dagada, at the first City of Johannesburg Billing Open Day.

By the end of this fiscal year, the City of Johannesburg’s billing crisis will be over.

This according to the MMC for Finance, Dr Rabelani Dagada, who said that 88 per cent of queries dealt with at the Billing Open Day were resolved.

“It was a testament to the fact that the municipality is determined to eradicate billing issues while curbing its increasing debt,” he said.

Should the MMC be correct, it means that the municipality’s billing system will be in full working order by July next year.

By the end of the second week of August, encompassing the Billing Open Day, a total 88 per cent of billing queries logged for the months of May and June, including those on the open day, had been resolved.

“The City expects the oldest billing query in its system to be only from February this year, effectively meaning that long-standing billing issues are being resolved expeditiously.”

Dagada said currently, only 17 797 billing queries are yet to be resolved. Of these, 53 per cent are 30 days old, 30.87 per cent are between 31 to 60 days old, while 7.98 per cent are between 61 to 90 days old.

“The City expects to resolve all queries older than 90 days by the end of August.”

Dagada said his department was determined to “fix it” by the end of the current fiscal period.

“We are taking decisions here and now. By the end of March next year, we will be talking about the legacy of the billing crisis and talking about it as if it’s history,” he said.

Although the day helped the City to update its customer database, the municipality is still grappling with a high number of disputed accounts related to water and electricity consumption.

“Our Revenue Shared Services Centre continues to resolve queries, working overtime to daily targets. Our goal is to ensure that 90 per cent of all registered queries are not older than 30 days by December 2017,” said Dagada.

The municipality has established that Region F has the highest number of open queries at 18.99 per cent of the total population of the City, followed by Region B at 16.95 per cent, while Region E holds 12.23 per cent. These regions have, on average, the highest number of open queries in all areas of the metro.

Speaker of Council, Vasco Da Gama, who also attended the open day, said one must first recognise that there is a problem and then fix it.

“Nothing that is hidden can be resolved. In this case, the City has admitted that there is a problem and has devised a plan to fix it,” he said.

Remedying the billing crisis will improve revenue collection, increase infrastructure development and enable job creation and the delivery of quality basic services to our residents, Dagada said.

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  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie

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