Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj. File picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg -

The resolution of cases sent to the presidential hotline by members of the public had increased from 39 percent when the hotline was established, to 94 percent this year, the Presidency said on Sunday.

The Presidency had been reviewing the progress made by the hotline since its establishment by President Jacob Zuma in 2009, spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

“The presidential hotline was established to assist citizens to resolve queries relating to government services, especially in cases where calls to local authorities or national departments were not yielding results.”

More than 180 000 cases had been logged between 2009 and 2013.

Zuma said the progress the hotline had made was pleasing.

“We are truly pleased that this instrument has made a difference in the lives of many people,” he said.

“We have been impressed by all spheres of government to sharpen up citizen care mechanisms and ensure that the queries brought by the public are attended to. We must continue to build a caring government.”

Of the 46 932 cases referred to national departments, the home affairs, human settlements, labour, social development and justice departments, plus the South African Social Security Agency, received high volumes of queries and had performed well in terms of responsiveness.

Departments dealing with a high numbers of cases which had shown significant improvements between January 31, 2012, and January 31, 2013, were rural development, SAPS, correctional services and public enterprises.

Maharaj said: “All provinces improved their case resolution rate from inception in 2009 to present. Provinces improved by 30 percent and national departments by 20 percent.”

However, the improvement was from a very low performance base of 64 percent in 2009.

“All provinces now have a resolution rate of 80 percent and above (the minimum target set for performance) except for North West province, now at 74.79 percent, and Eastern Cape province, now at 78.58 percent,” he said.

“The provinces with the largest number of complaints still to be resolved are KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and North West province.”

The provinces with the lowest number of complaints still to be resolved were Free State, Limpopo, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

Zuma said: “It is encouraging that the resolution rates of these provinces are improving month-on-month. I asked premiers to treat complaints management as a priority issue and they have responded well.”

Maharaj said the presidential hotline did not only want to achieve high resolution rates, but also endeavoured to provide a good quality service to citizens.

Of 11 000 citizens surveyed, 65 percent rated the hotline service good-to-fair, and this rating varied between departments.

Zuma said the role of the hotline remained critical.

“We are happy that many national and provincial departments as well as local government structures have established mechanisms of dealing with queries from the public,” he said.

“We want to build a caring society and a public service which treats people with compassion and courtesy.” - Sapa