Frustrated residents swear at Rand Water call centre staff over water shortages
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Johannesburg – As if a global pandemic, corruption around every corner and loadshedding are not enough to contend with, now two Gmail users have added to the woes of South Africans.
They are swearing at call centre agents of Rand Water. The actions of the account users sparked a warning from the organisation that residents in four provinces could face crimen injuria charges for abusive language towards call centre agents.
The stern warning follows complaints from staff who said they’ve been sworn at and insulted by angry residents during this week’s water shortages.
Rand Water spokesperson Justice Mohale said staff “can’t take it anymore”. He added that they view the tone and the abusive language used in the email as “unacceptable, undesirable and malicious to its brand”.
Several areas across Joburg experienced water cuts this week, most notably the Charlotte Maxeke and Rahima Moosa hospitals. But Rand Water is unable to pinpoint the location of the offenders.
Mohale said in the latest email the sender implied that water shortages in his area were as a result of the incompetence of Rand Water employees.
“This accusation is unfounded and baseless, since water supply is dependent on inter-linkages with other service providers in the water value chain,” he said.
Mohale was at pains to add that call centre staff have absolutely nothing to do with water shortages and are just fielding calls. He added that Rand Water will launch investigations into abusive and vulgar complaints and will call on law enforcement to step in. Rand Water services Gauteng, North West Province, the Free State and Mpumalanga.
Mohale said Rand Water acknowledges that sometimes it encounters challenges in the process of supplying water to its customers.
“When it happens, the organisation always communicates the challenges it encounters to communities through traditional media and social media platforms until the problems are resolved. Although Rand Water appreciates it when members of the public report water interruptions in their respective areas, it will not tolerate abusive language and insults meted against its employees,” he warned.
The organisation is urging the public, including Gmail users, to report water-related problems to the Rand Water Customer Service Centre: 0860 10 10 60 or [email protected] and not to insult its staff.