Joburg to kick-off billing open days

Joburg introduces billing open days to improve revenue collection and resolve billing woes.

Joburg introduces billing open days to improve revenue collection and resolve billing woes.

The City of Johannesburg (COJ) will tomorrow kick-off the first of many "billing open days" in an attempt to reduce the backlog of incorrect accounts in its SAP system.

The COJ's never-ending billing crisis can be traced back to when the previous administration upgraded its revenue collection software. At the time, the city said its decision was prompted by the need to establish a sustainable revenue base through improved billing revenue management.

However, thousands of Johannesburg account-holders began receiving grossly-inflated and inaccurate municipal accounts for rates and services. The issue of incorrect bills continues and the historical problem has created a backlog in the operations of the revenue department, according to city officials.

The city has initiated numerous attempts to resolve its billing woes but to no avail.

The DA-led municipality has now scheduled the first billing open day to enable ratepayers to resolve billing issues. This will be held tomorrow at the Marks Park Sports Club in Emmarentia.

The billing days will be replicated in all regions of the metro in upcoming months, the city points out.

Member of the mayoral committee for finance Rabelani Dagada says these open days will give ratepayers a platform to interact with revenue frontline staff, who will assist them to remedy or update their municipal accounts.

According to Dagada, the desired outcome is to compile an accurate indigent register, introduce mechanisms to improve billing and revenue collection, and improve the turnaround time for query resolution.

"Billing open days are designed to rectify anomalies in municipal accounts and help the city improve its customer database. There are countless property owners who should be paying for municipal services but are not doing so. We urge them to come forward so we can remedy their billing issues."

He adds: "This is also a chance for all stakeholders to take up their concerns with senior management in the city, who will ensure each account receives the desired attention."

Going forward, the city says it will conduct a frequent audit of properties and meters, enforce consequence and performance management, recruit skilled and qualified professionals and implement the SAP system successfully.