Rabelani Dagada. File Image

JOHANNESBURG - The municipal billing crisis in the City of Johannesburg will be "history" by end of the 2017/2018 financial year, mayoral committee member for finance Rabelani Dagada predicted on Sunday.

"The City of Johannesburg is closer to remedying all billing woes in the municipality following an 88% query resolution rate at a billing open day on Saturday, 12 August 2017," he said.

Hundreds of previously frustrated customers left pleased with the city’s attempt to bring its frontline services to their doorstep, to enable the prompt resolution of lingering billing woes. It was a testament to the fact that the municipality was determined to eradicate billing issues while curbing its increasing debt, Dagada said.

Mayor Herman Mashaba and Dagada led a high-level team from the Revenue Shared Services Centre (RSSC) to assist customers to resolve long-standing billing issues as well as settle their debt with the city.

Services the city offered at Emmarentia’s Marks Park during the billing open day included adjustments on disputed accounts, electricity consumption queries, as well as refuse, sewerage, and tariff queries. The city also dealt with requests to link or de-link meters and water consumption queries. The city expected the oldest billing query in its system to be only from February 2017; effectively meaning that long-standing billing issues were being resolved expeditiously, Dagada said.

"Currently, only 17,797 billing queries are yet to be resolved. Of these, 53% are 30 days old, 30.87% are between 31 to 60 days old, while 7.98% are between 61 to 90 days old. The city expects to resolve all queries older than 90 days by the end of August 2017."

The finance 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.

Similar billing open days would be held in all regions of the metro in upcoming months to give the city an opportunity to reduce the backlog of incorrect municipal accounts and rectify anomalies in the system.

- AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY