It seems another billing open day will no longer happen, indefinitely. This is because the City of Johannesburg said it is reevaluating the need for more of these days.
After postponing the second instalment of the open day in September, firstly because of a work stoppage by department employees, seemingly in solidarity with their colleagues who were arrested on grounds of fraud, theft and corruption, halted this. Since then, the way the City will attempt to sort out its infamous billing crisis has changed.
Lufuno Mashau, the City’s acting group CFO said the open days cost more and took a lot of resources to organise. It was not only costly, he said, but interrupted normal service delivery and the City’s IT infrastructure had to be moved around.
“We will rather capacitate regional offices to provide services that we provide on these open days, but on a daily basis. We should be able to provide that service on a daily basis,” he said.
“Regional offices are well geared, they just need the required capacity. We need representatives from every department at a regional customer service centre.”
At the City’s first billing open day in August, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said his biggest challenge was to change the mindset of City employees to become more customer-centred.
Mashaba arranged the day as a possible solution to, especially long-outstanding billing queries. Making sure information is correct across all departments, improving call centre resolutions and even billing regionalisation have all been put forward as solutions.
Mashau told Randburg Sun that although there will no longer be open days, the City’s end-goal remains the same. He said there is another possible solution that may soon come into the spotlight. The City, he said, will announce this soon.