President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Leon Nicholas.

If you live in KwaZulu-Natal, or Gauteng, you are most likely to pick up the phone to call the presidential hotline to complain about shoddy service, which usually relates to problems at the departments of home affairs, human settlements, labour and police.

And nine out of ten times, the complaint gets resolved, unless it involves the police where only three out of four matters are resolved, according to 2012 statistics provided by the government.

This is a vast improvement from the situation three years ago. Six months after the hotline was launched in 2009, opposition parties visited the Pretoria call centre, where President Jacob Zuma took the first call from a widow from Eastern Cape who complained about a delay in her late husband’s pension pay-out.

A statistical bun fight ensued over call volumes versus logged cases and the high number of dropped calls. A technical team was put in place and the resolution rate which stood at 39 percent in 2009, improved.

By the end of last month, 154 549 cases had been logged and just under nine out of every ten calls had been resolved, said Zuma.

The solutions have ranged from delivering a wheelchair to Centani village near Butterworth in the Eastern Cape to ensuring a mother could renew two foster care grants after she was told there were no renewal forms available, and that a widow, whose deceased husband had a second wife, could access benefits after his death.

“The machinery of the hotline is working,” said Mughivela Rambado, who is the director of the presidential hotline and frontline service delivery.

National departments seem to find it easier to set things right than provinces.

As at September 2012 there were still 5 363 unresolved cases, with Gauteng clocking up 2 565 and the Eastern Cape 3 123 unresolved matters as backlogs are being tackled.

But national departments stepped up their game in 2012: correctional services moved from resolving just 41 percent of complaints to over 95 percent and public enterprises stood at just short of 100 percent, up from 65 percent. - Saturday Star