More Joburg petitions resolved but backlog is still a concern

A shortage of staff and the fact that some petition liaison officers do not attend meetings have been earmarked as additional problems within Joburg's petitions system.

The rate of resolved petitions sent to the City of Johannesburg has increased steadily according to the quarterly report of a recent council meeting.

According to Sarah Wissler, a member of the section 79 petitions committee, the report, published last month, showed a 28 per cent closure rate.

“A total of 129 petitions were received during this quarter and of these, the committee managed to close 36. This is a significant improvement. Previous quarters indicate a similar increase. This shows the trend is sustainable. The number of progress reports received on petitions in progress has also increased. These trends are positive and certainly welcome,” Wissler said.

In 2016 Joburg’s petitions standing committee found over 80 per cent of petitions remained unresolved.

The committee also found that more than a thousand petitions have remained unresolved since 2011. This backlog will now see an intervention by the speaker’s office, said Wissler.

A shortage of staff and the fact that some petition liaison officers do not attend meetings have been earmarked as additional problems.

“Further challenges worth mentioning are non-submission of duly signed reports and closure forms, in addition to non-adherence to the 30 day turnaround time.”

The ANC said it shared the same concerns as the DA’s Wissler, stating that there is no division among members on the committee.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Silumko Mabona explained that petitions are used by communities to draw the administration’s attention to certain problems.

“If petitions are not noted, the needs of the people are ignored,” he said.

MMC for Development Planning, Funzela Ngobeni, echoed the intervention of the speaker’s office and agreed that turnaround times must improve.

ALSO READ: Over 80 percent petitions unresolved – PSC 

Chantelle Fourie

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