Pretoria - Disgruntled ratepayers in the City of Tshwane can now interact with municipal officials via the Zoom platform to seek solutions to disputes emanating from account and billing disputes, among other issues.
The virtual initiative went live almost two weeks ago and is expected to run until September 30.
Its primary focus is to create a technological platform to maintain direct communication with its customers to improve the City’s provision of services.
In recent times the City has been flooded with complaints from residents who believe they were incorrectly billed for municipal services.
Last month, residents in Pretoria West affiliated to Lotus Gardens, Atteridgeville and Saulsville Civic Association convened a meeting with Tshwane council speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana and MMC for Finance Peter Suttton over their disappointment regarding estimated municipal bills.
They wanted Ndzwanana to call for a special council sitting with a view to having various political parties vote in favour of scrapping the estimated municipal bills.
They also griped about fraudulent letters of demand sent to defaulting customers by people masquerading as municipal officials wanting to extort money from residents.
Residents called for a confrontational revenue collection campaign called #TshwaneYaTima, targeting customers whose municipal bills were in arrears to be stopped immediately in townships.
City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said: “The shift to virtual communication is expected to meet the demands of customers who require direct engagement with revenue officials.”
He said the current virtual outreach would focus on services such as account and billing queries, corrections on estimations, credit control and assistance with repayment arrangements.
Customers can also raise issues regarding the repair of water leakages, faulty electricity meters and indigent-related queries and registrations.
To take part in the virtual platform, customers can log on to Zoom and select the meeting ID to join.
Mashigo said: “Customers will be requested to log on to the category of their query/enquiry. The host will then accept the customer and the customer is automatically connected to share a screen view with the host.”
Because the interpersonal communication network will be active, the customer will be required to submit his or her account number and any other attachment such as a photo of the electricity and/or water meter reading.
“This will enable the host to immediately correct the account if necessary. Customers are requested to use the listed meeting IDs according to their category of their query/enquiry,” Mashigo said.
The time slots for these meetings are Mondays to Fridays from 4pm to7pm, Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. The service won’t be available on Sundays and public holidays.